Trump: I have ‘absolute right’ to declare national emergency if no deal is reached
Admitting that the U.S. is facing “two bad choices,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said that if the ongoing government shutdown continues into February, it will cause “less damage than if we don’t fix a broken immigration system.”
“You’ve got two bad choices here,” South Carolina’s senior senator said Sunday on Fox News Sunday. “Continue the stalemate and see parts of the government shut down. It would be inconvenient and it can create problems — and to the federal workforce, I’m sorry you’re caught up in this mess.
“But the real damage is people coming across the border, selling drugs, killing Americans — that needs to come to an end,” Graham continued. “The real damage is a broken border compared to a partial shutdown. The president’s not going to give in. No wall, no deal. But he’s ready to deal.”
President Donald Trump and Congress have feuded over funding for the president’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. House Democrats have said they will not approve any funding for the wall. The stalemate led to a partial government shutdown that has dragged on since Dec. 22.
Half a dozen or so federal employees protested outside Graham’s Columbia office last week.
Trump has said he is open to declaring a national emergency over immigration in order to fund the wall, but views that as a last resort, said Graham, who spoke with the president just before his interview Sunday morning.
“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option — and I think we’re almost there — I would urge him to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug,” Graham said. “See if we can get a deal. If we can’t at the end of three weeks, all bets are off. See if he can do it by himself through the emergency powers.”