Shutdown could drag on as Trump won’t move ‘fast’

Lodi News-Sentinel - - NATION - By John T. Ben­nett

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sig­naled Fri­day that a par­tial gov­ern­ment shutdown now in its record-ty­ing 21st day could drag on for a while as he said he will not move “fast” to de­clare a national emer­gency to ac­cess bor­der wall funds.

The pres­i­dent told re­porters dur­ing a bor­der se­cu­rity event in the White House’s Cabi­net Room that he has the “right” and le­gal au­thor­ity to make the move, which would al­low him to ac­cess De­fense De­part­ment dol­lars and shift them to the con­struc­tion of a bor­der bar­rier. But he made clear he plans to con­tinue to press Democrats to give in to his de­mands be­fore he is­sues such a de­cree.

“I’m not go­ing to do it so fast,” he said of an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion.

After House Mi­nor­ity Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., ear­lier Fri­day on the floor crit­i­cized House Ma­jor­ity Leader Steny B. Hoyer of Mary­land and House lead­ers for send­ing mem­bers home rather than keep­ing them in Washington as the shutdown dragged on, Trump called on both cham­bers to “come back and vote.”

“We want Congress to do its job,” Trump said. “What we’re not look­ing to do — right now — is a national emer­gency.”

A few hours be­fore the pres­i­dent made his one and only sched­uled pub­lic ap­pear­ance for the day, Hoyer re­sponded to Scalise by say­ing: “The gen­tle­man has a dif­fer­ent con­cept of ne­go­ti­at­ing than I do. Some­body takes some­body that I care about hostage and says, ‘I want to ne­go­ti­ate.’ That’s not a ne­go­ti­a­tion. That’s a de­mand.”

But some mem­bers of Congress were press­ing the pres­i­dent to get things rolling on what they call an emer­gency.

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., the chair­man of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said in a state­ment that he had met with the pres­i­dent on Fri­day and said there was no point in do­ing any­thing but the emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion.

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, de­clare a national emer­gency now. Build a wall now,” Gra­ham said.

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