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Trump interview: President says border situation is 'national emergency' as he edges closer to declaration

President takes trip to Texas on 20th day of government shutdown

Chris Stevenson
New York
,Andrew Buncombe
Friday 11 January 2019 05:25 GMT
Trump: 'When during the campaign I would say Mexico is going to pay for the wall, obviously I never meant they're going to write out a cheque'

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Donald Trump has doubled down on his threat to declare a national emergency to free up federal funds to build a wall on a visit to Texas as part of an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.

When asked how soon it would be before he declare an emergency, the president said "if we don't make a deal with Congress most likely I will do that". Despite the fact any such move would bring legal challenges, Mr Trump said the law is "100 per cent on my side".

He went on to call the situation at the border "a national emergency, if you look what's happening."

Mr Trump did not lay out a specific timetable for when he might take the step of a declaration, saying: “I think we're going to see what happens over the next few days.”

Critics have accused Mr Trump of "manufacturing" a border crisis to try and get the wall as part of a deal to end a partial government shutdown.

Two days after delivering a televised address to the nation to make his case for a wall, and a day after he abruptly left a meeting with Democrats after they refused to pay for one, Mr Trump travelled to the city of McAllen where he signed autographs for supporters and met border agency officials.

As he left the White House for his visit to Texas, Mr Trump again denied throwing a “temper tantrum” during the encounter with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi a day earlier.

At a roundtable meeting with community leaders and officials in McAllen, among them Texas senator Ted Cruz, the president repeated his insistence that a wall would be be built.

“We’re going to build a powerful steel barrier. They said we don’t want a concrete wall. I said that’s okay, we’ll call it a steel barrier,” he said.

“They say this is a manufactured crisis. That’s their new sound bite ... Every network has ‘manufactured crisis’. But it’s not. What’s manufactured is the word ‘manufactured’.”

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The president - who has cancelled an upcoming trip to Davos, Switzerland, because of the shutdown - also sought to address those critics who have pointed out he used to repeatedly promise Mexico would pay for any barrier. He claimed without evidence that the terms of a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada will provide the money for the wall.

“When I say Mexico’s going to pay for the wall ... I didn’t say they’re going to write me a check for $10bn or $20bn,” he said. “If Congress approves this trade bill, they’ll pay for the wall many times over. When I say Mexico’s going to lpay for the wall, that’s what I mean”.

To see how events unfolded throughout the day, see our liveblog below

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load


Good morning. Thursday is the 20th day of the government shutdown and The Independent will be providing more live coverage.

Tomorrow, the shutdown will become the joint longest-ever. In December 1995 and January 1996 government departments were closed for 21 days.

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 08:30

Another set-piece meeting between Donald Trump and leading Democrats took place yesterday.

It went about as well as the last one, with the president being accused of storming out after "Chuck and Nancy" refused to support funding specifically for his border wall.

Mike Pence said he did not "recall [Mr Trump] ever raising his voice" during the encounter, however.

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 08:32

Mr Schumer said it was "sad and unfortunate" that Mr Trump had suffered a "temper tantrum" during their meeting.

"We want to come to an agreement," he claimed. "We believe in border security. We have different views."

Mr Trump tweeted soon afterward:

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 08:40

Republican senators back his tough stance on border wall funding, Mr Trump said after a lunch meeting yesterday.

Asked if he got the impression in the meeting that the shutdown would end soon, Republican senator Tim Scott said: "I did not. I think we're going to be here a while."

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 08:48

Uncertainty over government funding for transportation projects is forcing some states to delay contracts for new road and bridge work while others are preparing for that outcome. 

The Food and Drug Administration has also said that routine food inspections are not being carried out during the shutdown, though checks of the riskiest foods are expected to resume next week.

Additional reporting by AP

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 09:04


The president's eldest son has come under fire for comparing his father's proposed border walls to enclosures protecting visitors from animals at zoos.

“You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work,” Donald Trump Jr wrote on Instagram.

Critics dubbed the message "racially insensitive".

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 09:28

Mr Trump has expressed doubt that his visit to the border will help to change the minds of his opponents as he seeks billions of dollars to fund a border wall.

He is due to visit a border patrol station for a round-table meeting on immigration and border security, and will receive a briefing on the situation.

McAllen, Texas, is located in the Rio Grande Valley, the busiest part of the border for illegal crossings. 

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 09:49

  ↵Daniel Neep, an academic who is partially paid with US government funding, has written for The Independent describing how the shutdown has affected him:

In the opinion piece, he writes: "The US shutdown shows that when government spending stops it’s not just the government that’s affected. Salary freezes are passed on to the rest of society.

"Companies with government contracts, cafés with federal worker customers, public transport systems that rely on commuter fares, family support systems – Trump's shutdown risks bringing down an entire micro-economy with it."

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 10:11

This infographic, created for The Independent by statistics agency Statista, shows a downward trend in apprehensions at the US-Mexico border since 2000.

(Statista for The Independent) 

Jon Sharman10 January 2019 10:27
Jon Sharman10 January 2019 10:43

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