‘Good chance’ that I may declare national emergency over wall funding, threatens US President Trump

Washington, Agencies | Updated : 02 February 2019, 02:39 PM

US President Donald Trump has said that there is a "good chance" that he will declare a national emergency to build his proposed wall along the US Mexico border to prevent flow of illegal immigrants into the country. The President said he would use his State of the Union address next week to once again make a case for the barrier. "I think there is a good chance we will have to do that," Trump told White House reporters when asked if he will declare emergency to build the contentious border wall.

"We are building the wall...We are doing things right now," he added. Asserting that he has "a very strong legal standing" on the issue of declaring emergency, Trump said, "We haven't declared the national emergency yet, but we are building the wall...You will hear the State of the Union and let's see what happens."

US President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech will urge optimism, pulling back from Washington's current climate of strife, a top official has insisted. Previewing next Tuesday's speech before Congress, a senior administration official said Trump will "cast an inspiring vision of American greatness."

The President - in open warfare with opposition Democrats, as well as railing almost daily against prosecutors looking at allegations that he colluded with Russia in his 2016 election - will take the high ground, the official said.

"Optimistic and unifying, but I think it can also be considered visionary," the official said of the speech on Friday.

However, the speech is bound to be one of the most politically fraught in years, coming against the backdrop of a bitter row with opposition Democrats who refuse to fund Trump's plan for more walling along the US-Mexican border.

The dispute even led to Congress delaying the date of the speech.

And Trump himself hinted Friday that he will use the delayed event to declare a national emergency, allowing himself to unilaterally appropriate wall building funds, bypassing Congress altogether.

The senior administration official refused to confirm any specific details of the speech and emphasized that the president's main goal was to present a more healing tone.

According to an excerpt given to journalists, Trump will say: "Together, we can break decades of political stalemate, we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America's future."

The administration official, who spoke on condition of not being identified, said that Trump would focus on five areas: - The contentious debate on illegal immigration over the Mexican border.

An "update" on trade negotiations with China and other countries where Trump says he is strengthening markets for US workers.

Asking Congress to approve "substantial investments" on US infrastructure projects. Lowering sky-high prescription medicine costs. Foreign policy and efforts in countries like Syria and Afghanistan to "bring an end to our endless foreign wars." The official refused to give concrete details of policy announcements. However, he did say that Venezuela, where Washington is supporting the opposition's bid to push out leftist President Nicolas Maduro, would feature.

Trump's threat comes well before the expiration of a February 15 deadline that he set for Congress to agree on funding for wall construction. But on Thursday he described negotiations with opposition Democrats "a waste of time."  

First Published: Saturday, February 02, 2019 09:14 AM
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