On C-SPAN today, President Trump said that he has “the absolute right” to declare a national emergency relating to illegal immigration at the Mexican border. Speaking to reporters, Trump said that “lawyers” had advised him that declaring a national emergency was within his authority as president.
“I’m not prepared to that yet,” Trump said, “but if I have to, I will.”
“This was passed by Congress,” the president said, “So when you say it wasn’t passed by Congress, it was. Other presidents have used it, some fairly often.”
“I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Trump added. “I haven't done it yet. I may do it if this [the government shutdown negotiations] doesn’t work out. Probably, I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”
President Trump also walked back his campaign promise that Mexico would pay for the border wall. “When I said Mexico will pay for the wall in front of thousands and thousands of people, obviously they’re not going to write a check, but they are paying for the wall indirectly many, many times over by the really great trade deal we just made,” Trump said, referring to the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA) that his administration negotiated to replace NAFTA.
[Photo credit: Max Goldberg/Flickr]