Feb. 4 (UPI) — President Donald Trump won’t rule out another government shutdown or a national emergency if congressional Democrats refuse to negotiate on building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
On television and Twitter Sunday, the president said he plans to stand firm on his demand for a new physical barrier separating 2,000 miles of the border.
“With Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republican must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for STRONG Border Security,” Trump tweeted. “Dems do nothing. If there is no Wall, there is no Security. Human Trafficking, Drugs and Criminals of all dimensions — KEEP OUT!”
In a wide-ranging interview with CBS that aired before Super Bowl LII, Trump said he is keeping his options open for when the government runs out of money again this month.
“I don’t like to take things off the table. It’s that alternative. It’s national emergency, it’s other things,” Trump said. “We’re going to have a strong border. And the only way you can have a strong border is you need a physical barrier.”
Several U.S. government agencies will shut down again on Feb. 15 if Trump and Congress don’t pass a new spending bill. The last closure went on for 35 days, the longest in U.S. history. Trump has said he wants $ 5.7 billion to help pay for the southern border.
A national emergency would bypass Congress, but could end up facing legal challenges.
The president’s remarks came two days before his postponed State of the Union address, set for Tuesday night. The annual speech is expected to touch on immigration, along with other issues like the cost of prescription drugs, Venezuela and a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In his CBS interview Sunday, Trump said military intervention in Venezuela is “an option.”
On other topics, Trump was asked whether special counsel Robert Mueller‘s final report on the Russia investigation should be made public.
“That’s up to the attorney general. I don’t know. It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say,” Trump said.
Trump also said he would support withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, but not Iraq because he wants to keep an eye on Iran.
“We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq,” he said. “It’s perfectly situation for looking all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up.”
Trump said said sending troops to Iraq in 2003 was “one of the greatest mistakes” the United States has ever made. He also said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will not run for Senate, as has been rumored, and denied reports he wants to run for Sen. Pat Roberts open seat in his home state of Kansas. Pompeo was a House representative for Kansas before he left for the CIA, and then the State Department.
“I asked him the question the other day, he says he’s absolutely not leaving,” Trump said.