WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency Friday to fund his long-sought US-Mexico border wall, after agreeing to a measure that prevents a new government shutdown but excludes the billions he demanded for the barrier.
“I am going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said from the Rose Garden, as he claimed illegal immigration marked “an invasion of our country.”
His announcement of his intentions came on the same day as he said he would state his case on Daesh “within 24 hours.”
Trump said he would speak about Syria in the coming days, as European allies and Russia wait to see how he will carry out his December decision to withdrawal all 2,000 US troops from the country.
“We have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with the eradication of the caliphate and that will be announced over the next 24 hours,” Trump said during Rose Garden event at the White House.
He also hailed Pyongyang’s “tremendous” economic potential Friday, ahead of a second scheduled summit between the US president and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un.
“Their location between South Korea and Russia and China right smack in the middle is phenomenal. And we think they have a great chance for tremendous economic prosperity in the future,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Pyongyang has yet to provide any official confirmation of the Feb. 27-28 summit, which will be the second time the two leaders come together following their June 12 Singapore meeting.
On his birder wall plans, Trump said he will use executive powers to bypass Congress, which approved far less money for his proposed wall than he had sought. He plans to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for the wall.
The move is already drawing bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill and expected to face rounds of legal challenges.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, lawmakers voted Thursday to fund large swaths of the government and avoid a repeat of this winter’s debilitating five-week government shutdown. The money in the bill for border barriers, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed and would finance just a quarter of the 200-plus miles (322 kilometers) he wanted this year.
To bridge the gap, Trump announced that he will be spending roughly $8 billion on border barriers — combining the money approved by Congress with funding he plans to repurpose through executive actions, including the national emergency. The money is expected to come from funds targeted for military construction and counterdrug efforts, but aides could not immediately specify which military projects would be affected.