The White House confirmed the trip to the southern border Monday, but a high-profile speech to the nation was less clear. The New York Times reported that Trump ‘wants to address the nation’ about the government shutdown, where Trump’s demand for a border wall is the primary sticking point.
Earlier on Monday, Trump tore into the ‘fake news’ media, accusing the press of making up stories and ignoring positive statistics about job growth. He lashed out at members of the press as ‘crazed lunatics.’
Although a president can give a speech whenever he wants, it only has maximum impact if carried live, and networks are loathe to interrupt their prime-time lineups unless they believe the speech is a legitimate news event, not just talking points.
Trump’s double-barreled plan to break through the politics of the shutdown comes as the White House revealed he is heading back to the U.S.-
The president ‘will travel to the Southern border on Thursday to meet with those on the frontlines of the national security and humanitarian crisis,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted Monday.
‘More details will be announced soon.’
President Donald Trump is heading back to the U.S.-Mexico border with no end in sight to the partial government shutdown
The move is immediately taken as a signal that Trump intends to dig in on his demand that Democrats provide $5.6 billion for construction of a border wall – a 2016 campaign pledge that is at the center of the partial government shutdown.
He has stuck by that financial demand – even after he said he would show flexibility on the wall being constructed out of steel instead of out of concrete. He said a steel wall would actually be more expensive.
‘The barrier or the wall can be steel instead of concrete if that helps people. It may be better,’ Trump said Sunday.
He also said he would call major steel companies asking them to design a wall – which would be a long way from core missions of smelting, procuring materials, and running a factory.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the trip on Thursday as the partial government shutdown was on its third week
A Central American migrant, jumps over the US-Mexico border fence from Tijuana to San Diego in the US as seen from Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on January 1, 2019
A migrant from Honduras looks from the border fence into the U.S. side to San Diego, Calif., from Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019
‘I intend the call the heads of United States Steel and a couple of other of our great steel companies. I will have them come up with a template or design of a beautiful steel product, which we now may use and use that as our barrier,’ he said.
Trump also has said Mexico will pay for the wall, something he says will be accomplished by a new U.S.-Mexico trade deal that has yet to go through Congress.
The trip to the border comes after Trump tasked top aides along with Vice President Mike Pence and son-in-law Jared Kushner to try to negotiated an end go the standoff that has kept 800,000 workers from either going to work or getting paid.
Even as he demands Congress fund the wall, Trump said on Sunday he’s looking at his options to get the wall built,including declaring a national emergency.
‘I may declare national emergency dependent on what going to happen in the next few days,’ Trump said.
‘Congressman Adam Smith, the new Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, just stated, ‘Yes, there is a provision in law that says a president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times.’ No doubt, but let’s get our deal done in Congress!,’ the president tweeted Monday.
But Smith also warned Trump ‘would be wide open to a court challenge’ if he made such a move.