President Donald Trump said he’ll be making a “major announcement” on the government shutdown and the southern border on Saturday afternoon as the standstill over his border wall continues into its fifth week.
The White House declined to provide details late Friday about what the president would be announcing. But Trump was not expected to sign the national emergency declaration he’s been threatening as an option to circumvent Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.
Instead, Trump was expected to propose the outlines of a new deal that the administration believes could potentially pave the way to an end to the shutdown, according to one of the people. They were not authorized to discuss the announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The move - on Day 28 of a shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks - represents the first major overture by the president since January 8, when he delivered an Oval Office address making the public case for his border wall. The president and his aides have said he will not budge on his demand for $5.7 billion in funding. Democrats have panned the number and said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.
In a video posted on his Twitter feed late Friday, Trump said both sides should “take the politics out of it” and “get to work” to “make a deal.” But he also repeated his warnings, saying: “We have to secure our southern border. If we don’t do that, we’re a very, very sad and foolish lot.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said only that Trump was “going to continue fighting for border security” and “going to continue looking for the solution” to end what the administration had repeatedly referred to as a “humanitarian and national security crisis at the border.”
While few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the US-Mexico border, as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump administration’s hardline response overwhelm border resources, critics say Trump has dramatically exaggerated the security risks and argue that a wall would do little to solve existing problems.