US President Donald said Friday he will not rush into declaring a national emergency to end a partial US government shutdown that was on course to become the longest ever in US history.
Trump said he has the right to declare a national emergency to break the deadlock and fund construction of a border wall, but “I’m not going to do it so fast.”
That would be “the easy way out,” Trump said, speaking at the White House, but added that he’d rather not take it because he’d prefer Congress settle the matter with legislation.
With no progress in negotiations on ending the stalement, the possibility of a declaration of a national emergency remained in the conversation. It would end the shutdown and give Trump a way to circumvent Democrats in Congress and secure funding for the wall.
Congress has left for the weekend, with no talks scheduled after negotiations to end the stalemate failed. Once the shutdown extends into Saturday it will reach day 22, setting a record. The previous longest shutdown in US history was 21 days in 1995-96.
Trump acknowledged that declaring a national emergency would face legal challenges. He would expect to be sued immediately if he took the route, he said. Experts and Democratic lawmakers have said the situation on the US-Mexico border does not constitute a national emergency.
Trump speculated the case would end up in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where some of Trump’s executive orders have been rejected.
“You never know what’s going to come out of the 9th Circuit,” Trump said. “We will probably lose there,” he said, adding however that if the case were to go on to the US Supreme Court, it would prevail.
Trump spoke at the White House, where he hosted a roundtable discussion with state and local leaders to discuss the need for strong border security, the White House press office said.
The president said the federal workers who currently are affected by the partial shutdown “eventually will be paid when this is over.” Trump said many of them agree with what he has said about the need for increased border security and encouraged him to remain firm on his stance.
He reiterated his position that the US needs a wall along its southern border because “the country is under seige.” The president is demanding 5.7 billion dollars for building a wall or barrier. Democrats refuse to fund it in budget bills that must pass Congress, saying it would be ineffective and a waste of tax dollars.
The shutdown has caused the closure of museums and parks and the furlough of several hundred thousand federal government employees. Friday was the first day without pay for many of the them.