"We could call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely," the president told reporters. "Yes, I have [considered using emergency power], and I can do it if I want… I may do it."
Later, when asked if his statement was a threat to Democrats, 45 stressed that he "never threatens anybody… but I am allowed to do it."
By declaring a national emergency, the US president is able to eliminate some of the checks on his authority the US Congress imposes and make decisions without consulting them.
Trump's Friday remarks followed a lengthy discussion with the Democratic leadership regarding the ongoing partial government shutdown, which has continued, with Trump and Congress at an impasse over his request for $5.6 billion for the border wall. Trump previously rejected a Democratic deal that included $1.3 billion for border security. The shutdown is currently on its 14th day.
"We told the president we needed the government open," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters after the meeting. "He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time: months or even years."
Although an end date for the shutdown is uncertain, Trump did tell reporters that he would be meeting with a "group" over the weekend to discuss border wall matters. Trump also met with reporters on Thursday to congratulate Nancy Pelosi on her recent win as the speaker for the House of Representatives, which marked his first White House press briefing of 2019.
During that appearance he also took the time to defend his border wall proposal by having members of the National Border Patrol Council speak to the press.