WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she thinks President Donald Trump will face opposition from Republicans if he declares a national emergency in order to begin construction on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I think the president will have problems on his own side of the aisle for exploiting the situation in a way that enhances his power,” the California Democrat told reporters at her weekly press conference when asked how the House would react if Trump takes the action to get out of the standoff in talks with congressional leaders over wall funding.
“I think he’s going to have to answer to his own party on usurping that much power,” Pelosi added.
While Pelosi didn’t elaborate on why she thinks Trump will run into problems with the GOP or how House Democrats themselves might react, many Republicans blasted President Barack Obama for taking executive action to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 to defer deportations for people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
Several Republican senators, however, expressed skepticism Thursday about the prospect of Trump declaring an emergency.
“It would be tied up in courts. Let congress do its job," said Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who's up for re-election in 2020.
“I don’t think that’s the way we should go," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also weighed in, saying, “I don’t think it’s legal. I think it will be challenged and probably overturned in court, but it might be the only way out of this.”
Pelosi’s comments come a day after Trump abruptly left a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House after Pelosi said she wouldn’t fund his border wall even if he moved to end the partial government shutdown.
“Not only was the president unpresidential — surprise surprise — yesterday with his behavior, I think the meeting was a setup so he could walk out, but I’ll just say that.”
Asked by NBC’s Kasie Hunt whether Pelosi would support a broader deal involving DACA, Pelosi said, “Well, we haven’t had that discussion. What we’re talking about now is just the president’s insistence on a wall. We need to have comprehensive immigration reform.”
The president, for his part, is heading to the border Thursday and said as he left Washington that he “probably” will declare a national emergency if he can’t get Congress to appropriate money for the wall.
"I'm not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to, I will," Trump said. "If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely."
The government has been partially shut down for 20 days after funding for several key agencies expired on Dec. 22.