White House: President Trump has right to declare national emergency if Congress fails to pass deal

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:54 AM PT — Tuesday, February 5, 2019

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway hinted the president is planning to use his State of the Union address to call for cooperation from Democrats as Congress remains locked in a stalemate over border security.

While speaking with reporters outside the White House Tuesday, Conway said President Trump plans to address bipartisan issues like infrastructure and drug pricing in hopes of cooling some tension between the parties.

However, she did say if Democrats continue to resist calls for compromise and fail to reach a deal with Republicans on immigration reform then the president would be well within his right to declare a national emergency.

“So, I mean the president cannot be more clear that he has the absolute right to declare a national emergency — it has never been his preferred option of first resort, second, 10th, 12th resort, it would be the last resort after Congress has completed its work,” Conway explained. “He’s got the conferees doing their work, let’s see what they come up with before February 15th, but at the same time the president’s made very clear that it’s his first and solemn duty to keep us all safe and he believes that includes securing the southern border.”

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

She added, the funding the president has requested would not just pay for a wall, but it would also cover additional border security personnel, immigration judges and drug detection technology.

Conway also noted the president has agreed to temporarily extend DACA protections in exchange for funding.

“Congress has failed to do his job — this Congress, last Congress and for quite a while — to make sure that we have what we need at the southern border, which of course the centerpiece of is a physical barrier, wall, steel slats, but it’s also the additional Border Patrol personnel, the immigration judges, tackling TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), certainly meeting those humanitarian needs that have been identified, and also having more technology for the drug surveillance and detection and handling and interdiction,” she stated.

Conway also took aim at the media for its coverage on the president’s leaked executive schedule, arguing the press is constantly presumptive and negative when it comes to this administration. She claimed the president is very active and the results of his effective policies speak for themselves.