Trump walks out of shutdown talks meeting, warns he may declare emergency
A day after abruptly ending talks with Democrats with a “bye-bye”, US President Donald Trump has said he will “probably … may be definitely” declare a national emergency to fund his border wall.Updated: Jan 10, 2019 23:05 IST
A day after abruptly ending talks with Democrats with a “bye-bye”, US President Donald Trump has said he will “probably … may be definitely” declare a national emergency to fund his border wall if the present impasse continued, with the ensuing government shutdown likely to become the longest in US history.
“Have the option” to do that, Trump told reporters before leaving for a border visit in Texas Thursday. “If this doesn’t work out,” he said, referring to ongoing negotiations with Democrats, “I’ll probably will do it, maybe definitely.” He could announce it during the tour, some reports said.
Though aides and some Republican lawmakers have cautioned against it, saying it will be challenged in courts, the US President might still do it to demonstrate to his base that he did everything he could. Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency and dip in US military’s budge for constructions — $13 billion at present — for the wall. Though he has emphasised that he prefers the negotiations route, he might consider this option, as he said, if talks go nowhere, and they are not going anywhere.
The Wednesday meeting at the White House broke up abruptly after 20 minutes. “The President just got up and walked out,” Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, told reporters in the driveway of the White House after the meeting.
“He asked Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ She said no. And he just got up and said, ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out. Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting,” Schumer said.
President Trump confirmed most of it in a tweet shortly. “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”
Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2019
He did end the meeting with the “bye-bye”. According to The Wall Street Journal, the President put his hands in the air — “two open palms on either side of his face” — said, “bye-bye” and left.
The meeting had been contentious as the ones before. Sticking to their position, Democrats urged the President to end the shutdown and continue negotiations for funding the border wall. At one stage, when Schumer asked Trump why he wouldn’t open the government, the President replied, in Schumer’s telling, “Because you won’t give me what I want.”
Trump is seeking $5.7 billion for the wall, which he has now said can be a “steel barrier”. But Democrats are only willing to allow $1.3 billion, and that also not for the wall or the barrier, but other measures to boost security at the border.
The continuing stand-off has shut down a fourth of the federal government, forcing 800.000 employees to go on leave without pay or work, for those deemed essential, without pay. The shutdown is now in the 20th day, and will become the longest if it lasts until Saturday, beating the previous high of 21 days.
And it could, with neither side showing any signs of giving in. But President Trump must also be worrying about keep together the Republicans. Some lawmakers have already indicated they want to end the shutdown, and they may be joined by more as it drags, causing further distress to those impacted.
The President is keeping up brave front, insisting, in remarks to reporters on Thursday that Republicans are standing with him. “Haven’t ever seen unity like this in the Republican Party,” he said. “Tremendous unity”
Over 60,000 illegal immigrants held in December
US Customs and Border Control announced on Wednesday that more than 60,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended along the southwest border in December, for the third consecutive month.
The agency apprehended 50,753 individuals between legitimate ports of entry, and 10,029 were individuals deemed “inadmissible for entry” at the ports of entry.
Those entering as family totaled 31,901 — called “family unit aliens”, and most of them were held attempting to cross over between ports of entry; 77% of these families were from Honduras and Guatemala. The department of homeland security, which made the announcement for the agency (impacted by the shutdown), said, “December was a record-breaking month for FMUAs apprehended at the border.”
Those apprehended at the ports of entry and in between them included 5,121 unaccompanied children.
First Published: Jan 10, 2019 23:00 IST