President Trump roundtable 01112019
Trump backs off national emergency threat
02:19 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

Despite previously unfruitful negotiations during the last round of shutdown talks, President Donald Trump says he’s ripe to reopen the government – urging party leaders to return to Washington and vote for a wall, or barrier, or whatever they wish to call it – even “peaches.”

“This is where I ask the Democrats to come back to Washington and to vote for money for the wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call it, it’s OK with me,” Trump said Friday during a White House roundtable on immigration.

“They can name it whatever. They can name it ‘peaches.’ I don’t care what they name it. But we need money for that barrier,” he added.

Trump’s comments came shortly after Congress adjourned until Monday without an agreement between Democrats and Trump to reopen the federal government over a standoff on border wall funding. Prior to adjourning, the Democratic-led House approved funding for the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies impacted by the partial government shutdown. But the measure was expected to be vetoed by Trump.

Trump told reporters at the roundtable that he is still open to declaring a national emergency over building a wall at the southern border, but made clear he would “rather not,” calling it an “easy way out.”

“It’s the easy way out,” Trump said of the national emergency route. “Congress should do this. This is too simple. It’s too basic. And Congress should do this.”

“If they can’t do it, I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right to do it,” Trump said.

Earlier in the week, White House lawyers began laying the groundwork for the legal defense of a national emergency declaration on the southern border, officials familiar with the matter said.

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.