Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Monday that President Trump should declare a national emergency to direct construction of a wall along the southern border if lawmakers are unable to reach a deal on border security over the next three weeks.
“If White House and Congress fail to reach a deal then President @realDonaldTrump must act through emergency powers to build wall/barrier,” Graham tweeted.
The senator said a legislative deal would be “the best way forward,” but argued that Trump directing troops to build a wall via emergency declaration would not be much different from how past administrations have used troops at the border.
“Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump have all sent troops to help secure the border in the past,” he tweeted. “What’s the difference between troops securing the border and troops constructing barriers to secure the border?”
The president signed a bill Friday to fund the government for three weeks, ending a partial government shutdown that had lasted a record 35 days. The measure did not include money for his long-promised wall along the southern border, but provided the opportunity for a bipartisan conference of lawmakers to negotiate border security funding.
Trump and White House officials have insisted that the wall will be built, regardless of whether Congress comes to a satisfactory agreement.
“We’ll work with the Democrats and negotiate, and if we can’t do that, then we’ll do a — obviously we’ll do the emergency because that’s what it is. It’s a national emergency,” Trump told reporters Friday.
Graham has been among the most outspoken lawmakers in advocating for Trump to use his emergency powers to construct a wall, though he has consistently said Congress should try to broker a deal first.
Earlier this month, with the government mired in a partial shutdown, the South Carolina Republican called on Trump to declare an emergency to build the wall.