If you think the drama surrounding the government shutdown can't get any wilder, wait until you hear about this. As the shutdown nears the two-week mark, which stems from a stalemate over funding for border security, the president is weighing some serious options to get his hands on the $5 billion he wants for a border wall with Mexico — and by serious options I mean, Trump might declare a national emergency to get his wall. I can't make this stuff up if I wanted to, you guys.
ABC News first reported on Jan. 4 that Trump was considering the move in order to bypass Congress, which has so far denied him the $5 billion he wants for a wall along the southern border. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the subject. However, Trump appeared to confirm that he was considering the move during a press conference on Jan. 4. "I can do it if I want. I may do it," he said in response to reporters' questions. When a reporter asked him whether the suggestion was a "threat" to Democrats, Trump responded, "I never threaten anybody. But I am allowed to do it," followed by a long and awkward pause from both reporters and the president.
Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on the matter, including comment on a possible timeline, where specifically the funds will be pulled from, and whether his comment was indeed intended as a threat, but did not immediately hear back.
By declaring a national emergency, Trump theoretically would be able to divert funds from the Department of Defense and other sources to be able to pay for the wall. According to ABC News, there are already conversations about doing so on a "working level." But the kinks are reportedly still being worked out before an official announcement is made.
It's debatable, however, whether that would go as efficiently as the president might hope. ABC points out that the Title 10 U.S. Code notes that should the president declare a national emergency, the Secretary of Defense would have the power to tackle "military construction projects" at his direction to support military forces in use. The relevant section reads,
In the event of a declaration of war or the declaration by the President of a national emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense ... may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.
However, per that same code the amount of money they can use is limited to what's already been appropriated for military construction. Experts also told the outlet that any attempt at declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress would likely see legal challenges.
But that's not the only option Trump is considering to get his long promised wall built. In a closed-door meeting between Trump and congressional leaders on Friday, Trump reportedly said he was willing to keep the government closed for months or years until his billion-dollar request is met. The president later admitted to the remarks during the same Jan. 4 press conference, saying he would "absolutely" keep the government shut down for as long as it takes to get those funds. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment.
Though he added that he hopes the shutdown will end soon, Trump ultimately declared that he's prepared for whatever if it doesn't. And when asked if he's proud to claim responsibility for the shut down, the president took a bold stance. He said, per NBC News: "I’m proud of doing what I’m doing. You can call it 'the Schumer' or 'the Pelosi' or 'the Trump shutdown.' Doesn’t make any difference to me. Just words."
Trump added: "I don't call it a shutdown. I call it doing what you have to do."
Well, then. Looks like this is about to get a whole lot uglier.