WASHINGTON — President Trump warned on Wednesday that he reserved the option of declaring a national emergency to build his border wall without congressional approval.
The president, speaking a day after his address to the nation that even some supporters conceded was unlikely to increase public support, headed to a luncheon meeting on Capitol Hill where he faced the urgent task of persuading wavering Senate Republicans that he could still come to an accord with Democrats on border security and end the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Asked whether he was still considering declaring a national emergency, an extraordinary measure rarely used by presidents absent an urgent security threat, Mr. Trump said: “I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t, I may go that route. I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want.”
Mr. Trump was scheduled to meet later Wednesday afternoon with Democratic and Republican congressional leaders at the White House in an effort to break the deadlock. So far, Democrats have held firm to the position that the president must agree to reopen the government before they will engage on the larger issue of border security legislation and his proposed wall.
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The president insisted that he maintained “tremendous” Republican support, even as nearly a half-dozen Republican senators have said directly or strongly suggested that they wanted to reopen the government, then have the debate about the wall.
“I think we have tremendous Republican support,” Mr. Trump said. “The Senate has been incredible. Mitch McConnell has been incredible,” he said, referring to the Senate majority leader.
The president, who has refused to sign any bill to fund the government that does not include $ 5.7 billion for the wall, also said some Democrats were moving to his point of view, although he did not offer any names.
“The fact is that there is tremendous support,” he said.
“If I did something that was foolish, like gave up on border security, the first ones that would hit me would be my senators — they’d be angry at me,” he said. “The second ones would be the House. And the third ones would be frankly my base and a lot of Republicans out there and a lot of Democrats that want to see border security.”
Mr. Trump is scheduled to travel to southern Texas on Wednesday to dramatize his call for a wall. The Democratic members of Congress in that area of Texas, and several of the Republicans there, have said a wall along the entire Texas border is not necessary.
“This is not a fight I wanted,” Mr. Trump said. “I didn’t want this fight.”