President Donald Trump will seize the power of the bully pulpit this week amid the ongoing government shutdown, making his case for border wall funding in a prime-time Oval Office address that he will quickly follow up with a visit to the southern border.
Some of Trump's aides view his "build the wall" slogan as no longer having the same impact it once did during the campaign because Trump has used it so frequently. And it repeats some existing funding requests for detention beds and security officers, which have already been panned by Congress and would likely find resistance among House Democrats.
But none of the past living presidents said it was them. It was unclear what basis Trump could use to declare a national emergency.
"President @realDonaldTrump will travel to the Southern border on Thursday to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, announcing the visit on Twitter.
I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.
Trump's Monday afternoon tweet about his plans to address the country come as the government shutdown begins its third week, with Trump and congressional Democrats at an impasse over Trump's demand for almost $6 billion in federal funding to build a wall on the southern border. About 800,000 government workers have been either furloughed or working without pay since December 22.
'This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me, ' Trump said during remarks in the Rose Garden.
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Trump sought to begin executing a new strategy when he appeared in the White House briefing room with border patrol officials last Thursday, believing the setting would lend some authority to his message.
Asked to explain how thoroughly the White House counsel's office has reviewed the possibility of an emergency declaration, Pence said it is something they have examined, but the administration would prefer to solve the problem of border security funding through Congress. Coons told Fox News, "I am someone who is willing to see more border fencing as long as we choose a technology that DHS says is going to be effective and I do think his moving towards steel slats rather than concrete wall, if it holds, is important". House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the wall "immoral" and refuses to budge on providing taxpayers' funding for it. This week, they will pass a series of bills to reopen federal agencies after weekend talks between the Trump administration and Democratic negotiators failed to end a stalemate.
But asked whether Trump has made up his mind on declaring a national emergency as a way to bypass congressional approval and move ahead with spending public money on construction of the wall, as the president has repeatedly threatened in recent days, Pence said: "He's made no decision on that".
Trump has argued the wall is necessary for national security and has tried to link terrorism to illegal immigration, without providing evidence, as justification for the plan.
A spokesman for former President Barack Obama pointed out that Obama has been highly critical of the wall proposal.
Trump asserted that he could relate to the plight of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who aren't getting paid, though he acknowledged they will have to "make adjustments" to deal with the shutdown shortfall.