Trump Mulls Emergency Declaration to Build Border Wall

President Donald Trump during a meeting with American manufacturers in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 31 2019

President Donald Trump during a meeting with American manufacturers in the Oval Office of the White House on Jan. 31 2019

"He will offer a choice of either working together and doing great things or fighting each other and doing nothing", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The decision is ours to make", Trump will say. "However, if they have some suggestions about certain localities where technology, some infrastructure... that's part of the negotiation", she said, according to The Hill.

The President also gave a preview of his State of the Union Address, scheduled for next Tuesday, and encouraged Americans and reporters to "listen carefully". "You'll hear the State of the Union, and let's see what happens".

Trump, who loves to build suspense, has teased that he could drop a big announcement in his speech, suggesting Friday he might make news on his threat to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress in his quest to build his long-promised border wall.

Trump continued to lay the groundwork for building more fencing without Congress's explicit approval, instead relying on an emergency declaration to have the Pentagon do the construction.

The president intends to highlight his immigration agenda, the senior administration official said, but the speech is not intended as a sweeping, lengthy complaint on that topic. That pact is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump called unfair to American workers. Trump has signaled that a peace deal would allow the United States to withdraw troops from Afghanistan after 17 years of war triggered by the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The president also will discuss his national security and foreign policy initiatives, including his "determination to bring an end to US foreign wars", the official said.

In defending the wall, Trump recited his usual list of talking points, claiming drugs are "pouring in" and that there are "people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don't want to give proper border security for political reasons".

Asked if Trump would acknowledge the shutdown in his speech, the administration official said the president will "definitely talk about immigration and about where we are in that debate and present a path forward".

Stacey Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives who narrowly lost the gubernatorial race last fall, is slated to deliver the Democratic rebuttal to Trump.

A bipartisan House-Senate committee is considering proposals for funding border security measures for the current fiscal year ahead of a deadline in two weeks when stopgap funding ends and a new partial federal shutdown could begin.

Officials were quick to caution that the speech remains a work in progress and stressed that Trump will tinker with it until the final moments.

Beyond the wall, a senior White House official told Reuters that Trump will outline what he sees as areas where Republicans and Democrats may be able to find agreement.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.

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