‘As long as it can stop criminals, gangs, human trafficking and drugs, I’m open to anything…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump said he doubts congressional leaders will reach a deal on funding for his proposed border wall, and that he’s prepared to use emergency powers to unilaterally build the wall if necessary.
After Congress passed a bill last week to temporarily re-open the government, a group of 17 lawmakers was formed to negotiate funding for Trump’s wall.
However, Trump told the Wall Street Journal he thought it was unlikely that they would produce a compromise worth signing before the funding expires again in mid-February.
“I personally think it’s less than 50-50, but you have a lot of very good people on that board,” Trump said.
Both Democrats and Republicans have accused Trump of caving to Democratic leadership on his border wall demands, but the president insists that he will accept no less than $5.7 billion from Congress.
“I doubt it,” Trump said on whether he would accept less from Congress. “I have to do it right.”
Democratic leadership is fundamentally opposed to the idea of a physical barrier on the U.S.–Mexico border, but they have admitted they’re willing to make concessions on other fronts, like increased technology, more immigration judges and border agents.
Democrats even floated the possibility of giving Trump the border wall in exchange for complete amnesty for the Dreamers, immigrants illegally brought into the country as children.
Trump had earlier offered a three-year extension of residency for roughly a million immigrants currently living in the U.S. on visas through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and temporarily protected status programs.
With some former allies, like Ann Coulter, already criticizing his capitulation, a full-amnesty deal, even in return for the wall funding, would likely wreak havoc with Trump’s base of conservative supporters.
Democrats find themselves in a similar dilemma, with their increasingly radicalized base pushing them away from positions supporting border barriers that once occupied the mainstream, making any overtures of compromise on the “symbolic” wall a non-starter.
When asked if he exchange DACA for the wall, Trump said: “I doubt it. That’s a separate subject to be taken up at a separate time.”
If Congress can’t reach a deal before Feb. 8, the government will shut down once again, and Trump said another partial shutdown is “certainly an option.”
Trump suggested that if he must, he will use his executive authority and write an executive order for the construction of the wall.
He said he doesn’t care what it looks like, as long as it’s effective.
“As long as it can stop criminals, gangs, human trafficking and drugs, I’m open to anything,” he said. “But the only thing that will work is a very strong form of physical barrier.”
Democrats, however, have promised to fight his efforts to use “emergency” funding through the courts and possibly enact legislation that would revoke a president’s unilateral authority to declare states of emergency.