US President Donald Trump, pictured at the White House in October 2018, has made it clear that declaring a national emergency at the border is very much on the cards (Olivier Douliery)
Washington (AFP) – Donald Trump’s frustration over his campaign to fence off the US-Mexican border spilled into linguistic territory Thursday when the president declared himself fed up with people dancing around what to call his dreamed-of barrier.
“Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!” Trump tweeted.
In other tweets, he signaled that he’s in no mood to compromise as Congress debates on providing construction funds. “The Wall is getting done one way or the other!” he vowed.
He also said: “More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals…. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!”
Hours later, the head Democrat in the lower house of Congress, Nancy Pelosi, shot back with an equally emphatic statement that “there’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation.”
The saga of Trump’s troubled plan to boost defenses along the Mexican border has seen politicians and the president maneuver repeatedly in search of the right terminology.
Originally, Trump reveled in the word “wall,” leading chants at rallies of “build the wall!”
But as Democrats in Congress pushed back, accusing Trump of demonizing immigrants and promoting “medieval” wall technology, he tried to soften the message, referring to “a barrier.”
– Emergency funds –
Also, instead of a solid concrete structure, Trump began to emphasize that he was really asking for steel slats. “Artistically designed steel slats,” he specified in December.
Despite the word games, Democrats remained steadfast in declining to back the president’s signature project. This led to a standoff in which Trump refused to fully fund government, shutting down swaths of federal jobs for five weeks.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress are now trying to come up with a border security compromise — though Pelosi’s tough statement Thursday did not augur well.
If they don’t agree to provide wall funding before a February 15 deadline, Trump says he’ll impose another shutdown or bypass Congress by seeking emergency funds.
Yet another Trump tweet Thursday indicated that he might already be resigned to Congress failing to satisfy him on “the DESPERATELY needed WALL.”
“I don’t expect much help!” he said.
In an interview Wednesday with right-leaning website The Daily Caller, Trump made clear that declaring a national emergency at the border is very much on the cards.
“We declare a national emergency if this doesn’t work out,” he said.
Democrats have said they would likely seek a court injunction to halt use of emergency funds at the border, arguing that Trump has exaggerated the seriousness of the situation and that there is no emergency.
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