Donald Trump: ‘The chant should be now finish the wall’

February 1, 2019

President Trump said Friday his administration is already making such good progress in building the border wall that his iconic campaign chant should change from “build the wall” to “finish the wall.”

Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump continued to lay the groundwork for building more fencing without Congress’s explicit approval, instead relying on an emergency declaration to have the Pentagon do the construction.

And he shot down fears that such a move would land in years of legal fights.

“Well, we have very strong legal standing,” he said.

Mr. Trump said there’s “a good chance” he’ll have to resort to using the Pentagon but urged folks to “listen closely” to his State of the Union speech next week.

The president repeatedly said portions of wall are already being constructed based on money that Congress did approve in 2017 and 2018. Under those plans, some 95 miles of border barrier is being upgraded, and about 25 miles of the border is being newly sealed by fencing.

“The chant now should be ‘finish the wall’ as opposed to ‘build the wall’ because we’re building the wall,” Mr. Trump said.

Most Democrats voted for the spending bills that included that border wall money including 111 House Democrats and 40 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Now, however, Democrats say they’re no longer willing to extend money to the project. House Democrats’ new spending plans, unveiled this week, zeroed out money for border wall construction.

Late last year, Senate Democrats had appeared to be willing to allow $1.6 billion in border wall money but retreated from that after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wouldn’t accept it.

That’s left Mr. Trump eyeing a workaround by using the emergency declaration, which would allow him to use the Pentagon, and money already approved for the Defense Department, to construct some fencing.

The extent and location of that fencing, though, could face court challenges.

Update hourly