U.S. President Donald Trump says he has the power to fund his Mexico border wall by declaring a national emergency — and he’s considering using it.
“I can do it if I want,” the U.S. president said when asked about the matter at a press conference outside the White House on Friday afternoon.
“We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country,” he said.
Trump said that while he may declare an emergency, if funding for the wall can be achieved through negotiations, he’s giving that a shot.
The comments come on the 14th day of a partial U.S. government shutdown triggered by a legislative impasse over funding the border wall. Trump is seeking $5.6 billion to build it.
On Friday, ABC News published a report citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter saying that the president is considering multiple options to fund the wall without the blessing of Congress.
The broadcaster reported that the options include diverting funds from defence and other portfolios.
“Sources tell ABC News the discussions are still on the ‘working level,’ adding that there’s a range of legal mechanisms that are being considered before such a decision is announced,” the outlet reported.
Democrats, who now hold the majority in the House, passed spending bills on Thursday to reopen the government, including $1.3bn (£1bn) of border security funds until 8 February.
But the legislation cannot take effect unless it passes the Republican-controlled Senate, where leader Mitch McConnell said his party would not back any measure without the president’s support.