Trump: ‘I Have the Absolute Right to Do National Emergency If I Want’

By Melanie Arter | January 9, 2019 | 3:34pm EST
President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 9, 2019. (Getty Images/Alex Wong)

( – If Congress doesn’t agree to work out a deal to build the wall, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he may use his presidential powers to declare the illegal border crossings a national emergency.

“I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t, I may go that route. I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want,” Trump said during a signing ceremony at the White House for the “Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.”

When asked what his threshold is, the president said, “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”

In remarks following a Senate GOP policy lunch, the president again said he might use his emergency powers “at some point.”

“I may do that at some point if Chuck and Nancy - who I’m meeting with I believe in a little while - if they don’t agree to the fact that our country has got a really big problem with crime, with drugs, with a lot of other things that come through our southern border,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.

“We gotta get the politics out of this and go back to common sense. They say it’s a medieval solution, a wall. It’s true. It’s medieval because it worked then and it works even better now. Israel put up a wall. It’s 99.9% successful, according to Bibi Netanyahu,” Trump said at the signing ceremony.

“He came into my office a couple of months ago and he said, ‘What’s with the wall? We put up a wall — it’s 99.9% successful. 99.9%.’ I said, do you mind if I use that number? Because then they’ll backtrack - they’ll say actually it’s only 99%. … They put up a wall and they don’t have a problem with anything, and we have to do the same.”

In response to a reporter’s question on illegal immigration being down, the president said it’s because of his good management.

“You know why it's gone down? Because of good management, because of me and my people, because we’ve managed it well, but it is brutal. We have more caravans. Nobody ever heard of a caravan. It’s gone down, and we have kept it down, because we’re managing it well. We can never do a great job unless we have a wall or a barrier, and I mean a real barrier, not a little barrier that doesn’t work,” he said.

“It’s only down because we do a great job, and we work very hard at it, and I have incredible people – Border Patrol people, ICE. The military has helped,” the president added.

After the Senate GOP policy lunch, Trump they talked strategy and the GOP is with his administration “all the way.” The Republicans “are totally unified.”

“If you would ask the same question to the Democrats, you let me know in some of those districts where I won or that are a little bit more toward sanity. You want them to run and say we don’t want to have border security? You got plenty of Democrats that do not want to be in this battle,” he said.

The president said the only reason Democrats are against border security “is because I won the presidency, and they think they can try and hurt us going into the presidency, but that’s not going to happen, and we don’t give up, because we’re doing the right thing for our country.”


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