President Donald Trump asserted Friday he has already started building the border wall, urging supporters not to lose faith.
“The chant should be now, ‘Finish the wall’ because we’re building a lot of wall,” he said to reporters during an event at the White House on Friday.
White House aides claim that Trump has 115 miles of wall that will either be finished or under construction by the end of 2019.
The president said he was still seriously considering declaring a state of emergency at the border, which would allow him to redirect funding to secure the border without Congress.
“I’m certainly thinking about it. I think there’s a good chance we’ll have to do that,” he said. “At the same time, regardless, we’re building the wall. And we’re building a lot of wall.”
Although Trump expressed skepticism that the bipartisan compromise congressional committee can draft a serious border security proposal before February 15, he has said he will wait until the deadline before acting on his own.
“We’re not going to get anywhere with them. It’s going to be part of their campaign, but I don’t think it’s good politically,” Trump said about the Democrats on the committee. “And I think Nancy Pelosi should be ashamed of herself because she’s hurting a lot of people.”
On Thursday, Trump bristled at the idea that he was not already building the wall.
“I’ve accomplished so much. So now they say, ‘Oh, if he doesn’t get the wall…’ They make that the only issue, but it’s not going to work because I’m building the wall,” he said to reporters at the White House. “The wall is happening right now, okay?”
The president is referring to the carefully allotted $1.6 billion from Congress in the 2018 omnibus bill allowing him to replace or repair existing border structures on the southern border — but not build new structures.
During an interview with the New York Times published on Friday, Trump spoke about his progress on the border.
“We’re renovating large sections of wall. We’re building new sections of wall. We’re building the wall,” he said. “The wall is going up as we speak.”