President Donald Trump will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday amid a stalemate over funding for his proposed wall that has partially shut down the federal government.
Trump will “meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet Monday. The White House didn’t say precisely where on the border Trump plans to travel.
Trump later tweeted Monday he’ll deliver a prime-time televised address on Tuesday before he travels to the border. It’s unclear if all of the networks will carry Trump’s speech. At least one network is still deliberating whether to grant Trump the television time, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person asked not to be identified because the speech hasn’t been publicly announced.
The partial government shutdown is now entering its third week and most federal workers will start to miss their first paychecks on Friday, the day after Trump’s planned visit to the border. The longer the standoff continues, the more consequences Trump and Congress will face — including shuttered courts, trash piling up in national parks, and delayed tax refunds.
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Trump has said he’s prepared to keep part of the U.S. government shut down for more than a year if necessary to get funding for the border wall he promised during his presidential campaign. He also has said he is considering declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and fund the wall on his own authority.
Trump told reporters that his next move may depend on what happens in coming days. He declared a meeting on Sunday chaired by Vice President Mike Pence “productive,” even as Democrats said no progress had been made and no further meetings of the group were scheduled.
“I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days,” Trump told reporters Sunday before departing to the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland for what he termed “meetings on Border Security and many other topics” with senior White House staff.
After returning from Camp David, Trump told reporters “we’re looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency” and that “we’re looking at it very strongly.”
Democrats have already threatened a legal fight if Trump tries to declare a national emergency. “He’ll face a challenge, I’m sure,” Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama said on Fox News that Trump has some “inherent powers” to bypass Congress, but that border funding must be done the right way, via legislation.
Trump and Democrats are at an impasse over the president’s demands for $5.6 billion to build a wall. While Democrats have offered to fund for border security, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called a wall “immoral.”