President Trump said building a wall on the southern border is a national emergency at a press conference on Friday.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Good question. It's a good question. Please, please. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, two questions. First, Mr. President, have you considered using emergency powers?
TRUMP: Should we keep this going or not, folks?
TRUMP: I just don't want to say, "oh, he stood out there."
TRUMP: You know, you have so many questions. I'm just looking at Mike and Steve and Kevin. I'm saying should we and mostly importantly, madam secretary?
MCCARTHY: None of us brought coats.
TRUMP: I'm just -- oh, are you cold? Get out of here.
Here, take mine. You want mine?
No, I'm just saying should we keep this going a little bit longer?
QUESTION: Please. Yes, indeed.
TRUMP: Go ahead.
QUESTION: So first...
TRUMP: Let me know when you get tired.
QUESTION: I'm not. Have you considered using emergency powers to grant yourself authorities to build this wall without congressional approval? And second on Mexico...
TRUMP: Yes, I have.
QUESTION: You have?
TRUMP: Yes, I have. And I can do it if I want.
QUESTION: So you don't need congressional approval to build the wall?
TRUMP: No, we can use -- absolutely. We can call a national emergency because of the security of our country, absolutely. No, we can do it. I haven't done it. I may do it. I may do it, but we could call a national emergency and build it very quickly, and it's another way of doing it. But if we can do it through a negotiated process, we're giving that a shot.
QUESTION: So is that a threat hanging over the Democrats?
TRUMP: I'd never threaten anybody, but I am allowed to do that yes.
QUESTION: Second question...
TRUMP: Call it a national emergency.
QUESTION: On Mexico, the benefits from that trade deal are going to go to private companies, private citizens, so you're talking about tax revenues...
TRUMP: No, they're going to pay tremendous tax.
QUESTION: So it's American tax payers?
TRUMP: I'll give you an example, when a company was going to leave from Mexico or Canada but for Mexico because we've lost tremendous amounts of our car business like 25 percent to Mexico.
If they stay, all of those taxes that they have been paying, real estate taxes, employee - employer taxes. Tremendous taxes that nobody even understands they pay. They're tremendous. Income taxes, federal income taxes, state income taxes in some cases -- all of those taxes stay with us.
The wall is you know it's -- it's great but the USMCA, which gives a disincentive for companies to leave. It's a tremendous disincentive. Anybody that leaves after this deal is done -- look it's one of the primary reasons that I like it because I can live pre-NAFTA too.
The only thing I can't live with is NAFTA. I can live pre-NAFTA, before NAFTA, before everybody left New England and left all of the different places, Ohio, Pennsylvania. I mean you still have empty steel factories all over the place and other factories.
I can live pre-NAFTA very easily but the only thing I'm not living with is NAFTA. That was one of the worst trade deals ever made.
QUESTION: So those are American tax payer dollars which you consider essentially Mexico paying for the wall?
TRUMP: Well many, many times over. Look the USMCA, will make in the form that we right now are losing approximately 100 - hard to believe and this doesn't include the drugs pouring in which is probably a much higher number than anybody would even know in addition to destroying lives and families so horribly.
We are losing close to $100 billion a year on trade with Mexico for many years. Not only that, they have a tax of 17 percent. We don't have a tax so they have a value added tax of 17 percent. We don't have a tax of 17 percent.
That deal was bad the day it was made because they charged the tax before the deal was made and we didn't. It was an obsolete deal when it was made like 30 years ago, whatever it was.
No, no. All of this stuff is changing now. This is a fair deal. This is a good deal for Mexico. Frankly, oil companies and other companies have an incentive now to go to Mexico and take oil out and that's why we're keeping gasoline prices so low.
You look at what's going on with gasoline prices. I mean it's rather incredible. If you look back four months ago, oil hit $83 a barrel - $83. It was heading to $100 and then it could've gone to $125.
You want to see problems? Let that happen. After I made some phone calls to OPEC and the OPEC nations, which is essentially a monopoly, all of the sudden it started coming down.
I'm very happy with that's happened and I'm very happy that people are paying a lot less, in many cases, $2 a gallon for gasoline. You look at what's happening. Everyone's talking about it didn't happen by luck, it happened through talent.