Sen. Lindsey Graham: It's time for Trump to declare a national emergency

Lindsey GrahamLindsey Graham.Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

  • Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said it's time for President Donald Trump to use emergency powers to build a barrier on the US-Mexico border.
  • Hours before making the statement, Graham appeared to be unsure about whether that was a prudent decision.
  • The statement follows a meeting at his office at Capitol Hill on Wednesday, in which several of his Republican colleagues and White House officials mounted a last-ditch effort to broker a deal with Democrats.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he thinks it's time for President Donald Trump to use emergency powers to build a barrier on the US-Mexico border, a decision he indicated he was unsure about just hours before apparently changing his opinion on the issue.

"Time for President [Donald Trump] to use emergency powers to build Wall/Barrier," Graham said on Twitter. "I hope it works."

Graham claimed he based his decision on what he described as the Democratic leadership's "refusal to negotiate" on acquiring funds for the wall and reopening the government after a 20-day partial government shutdown. Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, have agreed to a budget bill that would allot funds for border security. They rejected the notion of providing $5.7 billion to fund Trump's wall.

Hours before making his statement, Graham appeared unsure whether Trump making a national emergency declaration would be a prudent move.

donald trumpPresident Donald Trump speaks as he tours the U.S. border with Mexico Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in McAllen, Texas.Associated Press/Evan Vucci

"President [Donald Trump]strongly believes he has power to declare a national emergency to build a wall," Graham tweeted. "Will that approach work? I don't know."

The statement follows a meeting at his office at Capitol Hill on Wednesday, in which several of his Republican colleagues and White House officials mounted a last-ditch effort to broker a deal with Democrats.

A national emergency declaration, which previous presidential administrations have made, would allow him to divert funds to his border wall without approval from Congress.

"If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it, I would almost say definitely," Trump said before a trip to McAllen, Texas to inspect the border. "This is a national emergency."

Graham, who has slowly become one of Trump's ardent supporters in Congress, is soon expected to relinquish his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee and chair the Judiciary Committee.

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