President Donald Trump will deliver a public address Tuesday night on the subject of border security and is preparing to possibly use his emergency powers to pay for the wall.

Several administration officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed Trump may use his national emergency authority to pay for the southern border wall, although the White House appeared to have changed its tune on that issue over the weekend.

On Sunday, the president tweeted that the long-planned concrete wall would now be a “steel barrier,” which Trump said would be “less obtrusive” and for which he demanded $5.7 billion in funding from Congress.

In a separate tweet on Monday, Trump announced he would address the country “on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border,” and that the speech would begin Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST. Trump also said he plans to visit the border later this week.


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The government has been partially shut down for nearly three weeks (since midnight on Dec. 22) due to a standoff between Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the issue of border security and illegal immigration. Trump said last week the shutdown — or as the Wall Street Journal reported the president calls it, a “strike” — could last “months or even years.” Democrats — including party leaders like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and California Rep. Nancy Pelosithe House Speaker — have insisted they will not approve any kind of funding for the U.S.-Mexico barrier. Democrats have also already made moves as the majority party in the House of Representatives to put checks on Trump and the White House on several issues, including ordering the release of the president’s tax returns.


Despite Trump holding several meetings with Congressional leaders in recent days since the New Year began, the stalemate continues and more than 800,000 federal workers have been left without pay. In remarks during a press conference in the Rose Garden last week, Trump said he believed those employees are on his side and that they, like him, think the shutdown is necessary until the border barrier is constructed and the issue of immigration more broadly is solved.

Democratic leaders from both houses of Congress said in a statement Monday night that they wanted television time equal to the airtime Trump would get for his public address.

“Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime,” said Schumer and Pelosi. They added that “if his past statements are any indication,” Trump’s televised speech “will be full of malice and misinformation.”

After 18 days, the government shutdown has created chaos in may states and public areas around the country, including national parks.

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