Trump threat­ens to de­clare emer­gency to get bor­der wall

Warns he will do so to get around Congress ap­proval while shut­down goes on

StarMetro Calgary - - CANADA & WORLD -

MCALLEN, TEXAS—U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threat­ened on Thurs­day to de­clare a na­tional emer­gency to cir­cum­vent Congress if he can’t reach a deal with Democrats to fund his promised bor­der wall. He spent most of the day in Texas near the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der to draw fur­ther at­ten­tion to his case after ne­go­ti­a­tions with law­mak­ers blew up.

The par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down dragged into a 20th day with hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­eral work­ers off the job or work­ing with­out pay as the wall fight per­sisted.

Asked about a na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion, Trump said as he left the White House, “I’m not pre­pared to do that yet, but if I have to I will.” He con­tends such a dec­la­ra­tion would al­low him to di­rect the mil­i­tary to be­gin wall con­struc­tion.

“So we’re ei­ther go­ing to have a win, make a com­pro­mise — be­cause I think a com­pro­mise is a win for every­body — or I will de­clare a na­tional emer­gency,” he said.

In per­haps an omi­nous sign for those seek­ing a swift end to the show­down, Trump an­nounced he was can­celling his trip to Davos, Switzer­land, later this month, cit­ing Democrats’ “in­tran­si­gence” on bor­der se­cu­rity.

Trump’s com­ments came a day after he walked out of a ne­go­ti­at­ing meet­ing with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence head to a Se­nate pol­icy lun­cheon, Wed­nes­day amid the long­est shut­down in U.S. his­tory.

con­gres­sional lead­ers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ac­cused the pres­i­dent of en­gag­ing in po­lit­i­cal games to fire up his base.

Af­fected fed­eral work­ers face lost pay­checks on Fri­day, and more peo­ple are touched every day by the roll­back of gov­ern­ment ser­vices.

In McAllen, Texas, Trump vis­ited a bor­der pa­trol sta­tion for a round­table dis­cus­sion on im­mi­gra­tion and bor­der se­cu­rity and got a brief­ing.

McAllen is lo­cated in the Rio Grande Val­ley, the busiest part of the bor­der for il­le­gal bor­der cross­ings.

Sev­eral hun­dred pro­test­ers were chant­ing and wav­ing signs op­pos­ing a bor­der wall next to the South Texas air­port where Trump was set to ar­rive. And in Wash­ing­ton, fed­eral work­ers de­nounced Trump at a rally with con­gres­sional Democrats, de­mand­ing he re­open the gov­ern­ment so they can get back to

work and re­ceive their pay­cheques. On Satur­day, Wash­ing­ton ap­pears cer­tain to set an ig­no­min­ious record for the long­est gov­ern­ment shut­down in the na­tion’s his­tory.

There’s grow­ing con­cern about the toll the shut­down is tak­ing on ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing dis­rup­tions in pay­ments to farm­ers and trou­ble for home buy­ers who are seek­ing gov­ern­ment­backed mort­gage loans — “se­ri­ous stuff,” ac­cord­ing to Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Se­nate Re­pub­li­can.

Some Repub­li­cans were con­cerned about Trump’s talk of declar­ing a na­tional emer­gency at the bor­der, see­ing that as un­prece­dented in­ter­fer­ence with the right of Congress to al­lo­cate fund­ing ex­cept in the most dire cir­cum­stances.

“I pre­fer that we get this re­solved the old-fash­ioned way,” Thune said.

THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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