President Donald Trump said he would make televised address and visit border this week
Washington. Aiming to bolster his case for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, President Donald Trump said on Monday he would make a televised address and visit the border this week as the government marked its 17th day of a partial shutdown.
Democrats, who now control the U.S. House of Representatives, have rejected Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to help build a wall. Without a deal on that sticking point, talks to fund the government have stalled.
Vice President Mike Pence said Trump had not made a decision about his threat to declare a national emergency and build a wall without congressional approval.
Asked about the possibility of legal challenges and whether the White House counsel’s office had reviewed the matter thoroughly, Pence told reporters: “They’re looking at it, and the president is considering it.”
The president’s speech, planned for 9 p.m. on Tuesday (0200 GMT Wednesday) and the border trip on Thursday underscored Trump’s resolve not to back off his 2016 campaign promise to build a wall that he believes will stem illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has refused to do so.
Democrats in Congress say a wall would be expensive, inefficient and immoral.
Pressure to reach a deal is likely to grow, however, as the effects of the shutdown are felt, including possible cuts in food stamp programs for the poor.
The acting director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, said tax refunds would be distributed despite the shutdown.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders announced the border trip on Twitter without providing details. The visit will likely highlight security concerns pushed by the administration as justification for the wall. The administration says there is a humanitarian and security crisis on the border.
“The president’s position is: There is a crisis at the southern border, and Democrats are refusing to negotiate,” Pence said.
The emphasis on a “crisis” could be the administration’s attempt to lay the groundwork for a potential emergency declaration. Such a decision would almost certainly face a legal challenge.
Trump has tried to link terrorism to illegal immigration, without providing evidence, as justification for the plan. Democrats say there has been no evidence of suspected terrorists coming through the southern border and that Trump has no grounds to declare a national emergency over the issue.