In a new interview with the New York Times, President Trump dropped his biggest hint yet that he’s preparing to declare a national emergency.
An exclusive New York Times interview
Trump sat down with the New York Times and sounded off about his frustration with ongoing congressional negotiations over border security. So far, Democrats have indicated they are not interested in providing any funding for an actual border wall. Pelosi insured as much during a recent press conference. (RELATED: Pelosi Digs in on Border: ‘There’s Not Going to Be Any Wall Money’.)
Trump has since responded to Pelosi, saying that any deal lawmakers are working on will be a waste of time unless it contains actual funding for a border wall. (RELATED: Trump Fires Back at Pelosi After She Says ‘There’s Not Going to Be Any Wall Money’.) In recent days, Trump has expressed more and more frustration with his inability to actually fulfill his key campaign promise: erecting an actual physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. In another interview with the Daily Caller, Trump trashed former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for failing to deliver a border wall despite promising him he would. (RELATED: Trump: Paul Ryan Promised a Wall Then Betrayed Me.)
The national emergency hint
All along, Trump has maintained he has the legal authority to declare a national emergency and order the border wall to be built himself. However, he has so far shied away from doing so, worrying that it could set a bad precedent if Democrats ever reclaim the White House.
Still, in the Times interview, Trump once again maintained that he’s ready to act if Congress fails to deliver wall funding to him by February 15th, the deadline when government funding runs out. An excerpt:
TRUMP: Well, they understand, Peter. They didn’t know what was going on with the southern border. Now they know. They had no idea the amount of crime, the amount of drugs, the amount of human trafficking, which can be stopped with a proper system.
BAKER: So set the table for emergency declaration.
TRUMP: I’ve set the table. I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do.
BAKER: And you’ll wait out the 21 days before you take any action?
TRUMP: Yeah, I’m going to wait until the 15th. I think it’s a waste of time.
The quote, “I’ve set the table. I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do,” suggests Trump is already planning to act to build the wall, regardless of what Congress does.
Trump said later in the interview, “Now whether or not I declare a national emergency, that you’ll see.” Still, he clearly placed the marker in the last comment.
If Congress fails to deliver Trump a wall in the next government-spending package, he’s ready to act on his own. The operating assumption is that he means a national emergency. But perhaps the President has another trick up his sleeve.