Donald Trump says he has 'lost massive amounts of money' serving as president

Nick Allen
Mr trump suggested he may declare a national emergency to build the wall - REUTERS

Donald Trump has declared being president one of the "great losers of all time" financially as he lambasted suggestions he was making money out of the office.

The US president also indicated he is preparing to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall on the Mexico border, calling ongoing negotiations with Democrats in Congress a "waste of time".

Mr Trump also said he has been informed he is not personally a "target" in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.

His comments came on a day when it emerged the US economy added 304,000 jobs in January, almost twice what economists had forecast. Mr Trump tweeted: "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!"

The president has been accused by critics of violating the "emoluments clause" in the US Constitution, which bars gifts from foreign states, due to diplomats and other officials staying at his hotel in Washington, a few blocks from the White House.

But in an interview with the New York Times, Mr Trump said he had actually lost out on business opportunities because he was president.

He said: "I lost massive amounts of money doing this job. This is not the money. You know, fortunately, I don’t need money. This is one of the great [financial] losers of all time.

"But they’ll say that somebody from some country stayed at a hotel. And I’ll say, 'Yeah. But I lose'. I mean, the numbers are incredible."

Mr Trump criticised Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat speaker of the House of Representatives, who has refused to agree to any of the $5.7 billion funding he has requested for the border wall.

Nancy Pelosi says there will be no money for the wall Credit: AP

If agreement is not reached by Feb 15 the US government may shut down. A previous 35-day shutdown, caused by the same funding impasse over the wall, ended last month.

Mr Trump indicated there would probably be no second shutdown because he will declare a national emergency, allowing him to use military funding for the wall.

"I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly," Mr Trump told the New York Times. "I’ve set the table. I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do."

The president also said his personal lawyers had been assured he was not being targeted by Mr Mueller.

He said that assurance came from Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who is overseeing the special counsel.

Mr Trump said: "He [Rosenstein] told the attorneys that I'm not a subject, I'm not a target."

The president said he had never spoken with Roger Stone, his longtime political ally, about Wikileaks and Russian-hacked Democratic Party emails made public in 2016. He said: "No, I didn't. I never did."

Mr Stone pleaded not guilty this week to charges including lying to Congress, and obstruction, stemming from the investigation

Mr Trump also denied that he had ever directed anyone to make contact with Wikileaks. "Never did," he told the New York Times.

The president said he did not believe he would face a Republican challenger for his party's nomination ahead of the 2020 election.

And he praised Kamala Harris as having had the best campaign launch of his potential Democrat rivals.

He said: "I would say the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris. Some of the others were very flat."