National emergency threat
Trump issues threat in fight over funding for US-Mexican border wall
US President Donald Trump has again threatened to declare a national emergency along the border with Mexico as he seeks funding for a wall he says will keep out dangerous immigrants – his latest jab in a fight with Democrats in Congress that has now shut down parts of the government for a recordtying 21 days.
Such a declaration, almost certain to be challenged in court, would in theory allow Trump to sidestep Congress and divert money from military projects towards construction of the wall that has been a core focus of his nationalist campaign.
Speaking to Fox News, Trump reiterated he had “the absolute right to declare a national emergency”.
Analysts say the declaration would likely be challenged as a case of presidential overreach, which means the wall could still face being blocked.
However, it would give Trump political cover with his base by showing he’d done what he could to build the wall. At that point, Trump could end the shutdown and declare a win.
The embarrassing closure of parts of the US government will set a record 22 days on Saturday.
Meanwhile, on Friday, some 800,000 federal workers who are working without pay or not at all because of the impasse, missed their first paycheck since the shutdown.
Trump toured the border with Mexico earlier this week to press his case for a wall and warned of murderers and gangsters spreading across the country.
Trump used the backdrop of the Rio Grande border river at McAllen, Texas, to ramp up what has already turned into a hugely messy political fight with Democratic opponents.
With typical rhetorical flourishes, Trump said that only building more walls along the Mexican border could stop an onslaught of violent crime.
Opposition Democrats are refusing to approve $5.7bn (R79bn) in wall funding, saying that overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants do not commit serious crimes and that Trump was mainly promoting the project to satisfy his right-wing base.
Trump’s refusal to sign a funding bill without money for the wall has resulted in a partial government shutdown.
Even some lawmakers in Trump’s Republican Party are wavering in their support for the president as the shutdown causes difficulties for their constituents.
Meanwhile, signalling he’s ready to maintain the game of brinksmanship, Trump tweeted on arrival in Texas that he will scrap a visit to the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which runs from January 21 to 25. –
SHOWMANSHIP: President Donald Trump travelled to the US-Mexico border on Thursday, a day after he stormed out of negotiations when Democrats refused to agree to fund his wall project.