President Donald Trump met with contractors at the White House Monday to discuss building the border wall ahead of his State of the Union address, two sources with knowledge of the meeting told CNN. That follows meetings he held last week with his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and contractors.
Despite CNN reporting that several senior Senate Republicans and members of GOP leadership have raised serious concerns about the possibility of Trump bypassing Congress and using an emergency declaration to build his wall, the President’s meeting with contractors shows that he is seriously considering doing so.
The President is so fixated on building the wall that he told a group of political allies on Monday that he wants to paint a section of current border fencing where it meets the ocean in San Diego, a person familiar with the exchange told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Trump complained he was told by a general that painting that area could harm the environment.
The White House declined to comment on the meeting. White House counsel Pat Cipollone was also present at last week’s meetings.
Trump came close to declaring an emergency after competing proposals to end the government shutdown both failed in the Senate at the end of January. But aides convinced him that waiting three weeks while a special committee of senators and representatives attempted to hash out a deal was a better idea. Then, if those congressional negotiators couldn’t come up with an agreement that funded the wall, he could declare a national emergency.
Trump has expressed doubt in recent days that the committee will find a solution he accepts.
“Listen closely to the State of the Union,” he said Friday when asked if he was ready to announce a national emergency.
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
This story has been updated.