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Donald Trump on National Emergency: ‘I Didn’t Need to Do This’

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
JOSHUA CAPLAN

Speaking before reporters at the White House Rose Garden Friday, President Donald Trump said he does not need to declare a national emergency to obtain funding to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“The primary fight was on the wall,” the president began. “Everything else we have so much as I’ve said, I don’t know what to do with it, we have so much money. But, on the wall, they skimped.”

“I was successful, in that sense, but I want to do it fast,” he continued. “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”

Bypassing Congress, which approved far less money for his proposed wall than he had sought, Trump said he will use executive action to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for the wall, aides said.
The money in the bill for border barriers, about $1.4 billion, is far below the $5.7 billion Trump insisted he needed and would finance just a quarter of the more than 200 miles he wanted this year.

To bridge the gap, President Trump announced that he will be spending roughly $8 billion on border barriers — combining the money approved by Congress with funding he plans to repurpose through executive actions, including the national emergency. The money would come from funds targeted for counterdrug efforts and military construction, but aides could not immediately specify which military projects would be affected.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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