UPDATED 3:37 PM PT – Thur. January 4, 2018
President Trump says he could bypass Congress and declare a national emergency to fund the border wall.
He made the comments during a speech from the Rose Garden Friday.
During that event, he also said an earlier meeting with congressional leadership was productive, and everyone expressed interest in reopening the government.
The president said his negotiating team, including Vice President Pence, Jared Kushner and Kristjen Nielsen, will meet with staffers of congressional leaders to discuss the matter this weekend.
Meantime, during his press conference, the president also reaffirmed his stance on $5.6 billion for a physical barrier.
“Really, I want to thank a lot of the Border Patrol people and ICE people who came up yesterday. They had a tremendous impact on, I think a lot of Democrats frankly, but a lot of people, because they were able to lay out exactly what the problem is and one of the problems described to me as an example, your ports of entry. We’re going to agree with Chuck and Nancy and Steny and Dick Durbin was there. We’re going to agree that we want to make the ports bigger, more powerful, able to handle more traffic have very very powerful drug equipment there. So they make very good stuff. Now we don’t have it because of budgets and other reasons” -President Trump
He also confirmed that he told Senator Schumer that he was willing to keep the government shutdown for months or even years, until Democrats approve his demands for the wall.
When asked if he would consider scrapping $10,000 raises for his top officials he said he would look into it.
Just moments later, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters he would turn down his raise while some federal employees are without pay.