(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump using disaster funds to build a border wall would be “outrageous,” Democratic Senator Kamala Harris of California told MSNBC. Harris also confirmed she will decide soon whether to mount a 2020 presidential bid.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to examine a February 2018 emergency spending bill, which included disaster relief for Puerto Rico and other areas, to see what funds could be diverted to a border wall, according to a congressional aide who asked for anonymity to discuss private briefings by the administration.
The shutdown’s pain is set to escalate dramatically Friday, with judges, law enforcement officers, NASA engineers, weather forecasters and office staff among those who won’t be paid.
“The irony here is that this president is talking about a wall because this is going to keep out so-called terrorists -- which we know is not true -- in the interest of public safety when each day he’s choking the actual people who are responsible for public safety,” Harris said.
Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday that he would “see what happens over the next few days” but would “likely” invoke emergency powers if he doesn’t reach a deal with Democrats over border funds that includes his request for $5.7 billion to build a physical barrier with Mexico.
The impasse has promoted a partial federal government shutdown that’s poised to become the longest in U.S. history, just as about the first of about 800,000 federal workers are set to miss their first paychecks Friday.
Harris, who is among the most anticipated of the potential Democratic challengers to Trump, has decided to run and will make her announcement on or near the Martin Luther King holiday, CBS News reported Thursday.
During her MSNBC appearance Friday, she said the president’s opponent should concentrate on communicating with voters, rather than engaging with Trump on every controversial statement he makes.
“I’ll make it soon,” she said when asked about her likely timing.
“I believe our country wants and needs leadership that provides a vision of the future of our country in which everyone can see themselves,” she said. “Let’s start from that and think about what we can do.”
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