WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump threatened Friday to keep the government shut down for months or even years if he doesn’t get money for his border wall and said he is considering declaring a national emergency to build the barrier if necessary.
“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country,” he said in the White House Rose Garden after a closed-door negotiating session with congressional Democratic and Republican leaders. “I may do it. We can call a national emergency and build it really quickly.”
One way the president could free up the bulk of the money he wants for the wall is through a transfer of up to $4 billion in Defense Department funds. Technically, that would require the Defense secretary to determine that the move is in the national interest and to notify Congress — a move that in the past has meant sign-off from top House and Senate lawmakers, but that Trump might try to execute without that assent.