An estimated 800,000 federal workers employed by the U.S. government are starting to feel the pinch as Friday paychecks were missed and key travel security sectors - particularly in airports - are seeing walkouts, according to multiple reports.
As a protracted partial shutdown of the federal government was on pace to be the longest in U.S. history, President Trump made the comment as he headed from the White House to Texas, where he visited the U.S. -Mexico border.
But with talks at a standstill over the president's demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding and 800,000 federal workers missing a paycheck Friday, the White House is clearly exploring the possibility.
Federal workers who have been forced to work without pay have started going to the courts to challenge the shutdown.
The partial shutdown of the government became the longest on record at midnight Friday (0500 GMT Saturday), when it overtook the 21-day stretch in 1995-1996, under then president Bill Clinton.
Asked by Fox News why he didn't immediately declare a national emergency to secure the funds without congressional approval, President Trump said he wanted to give opposition Democratic lawmakers more time to strike a deal.
But Republicans who control the Senate have so far stood with Trump and insisted that any spending bills include money for his wall.
"If they can't do it". "What we're not looking to do right now is national emergency".
"I have the absolute right to do it".
Until now, Trump had suggested numerous times that he was getting closer to taking the controversial decision.
The White House is working to identify federal dollars that could be redirected to construct a border wall, if President Trump invokes his emergency powers to do so.
However, this is contradicted by an archived campaign memo from 2016, where Mr Trump outlined how he planned to "compel Mexico to make a one-time payment" of $5-10bn for the wall. The White House also was eyeing military construction money, another politically hard choice because it would take away from a backlog of hundreds of projects.
An effort by GOP senators led by Graham for a compromise deal that provided both border wall funding as well as immigration provisions appealing to Democrats stalled on Thursday as the President was not in favor, according to two people directly involved.
Support for building a wall on the border, which is the principal sticking point in the stalemate between the President and Democrats, has increased over the past year.
But Trump has turned his single-minded push for more walls into a political crusade seen by opponents as a stunt to stoke xenophobia in his right-wing voter base, while wilfully ignoring the border's complex realities.
After Pelosi said she wouldn't provide funding for a border wall even if Trump reopened the government, the president said "bye bye", in his words, and left the room - a signature negotiating tactic for the former real estate developer and reality TV show star.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request to clarify who is now in the White House with the president.
More certain is that while narcotics do enter the country across remote sections of the border, most are snuck through heavily guarded checkpoints in vehicles, the government's own Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2017 report.
He said: "We're doing our best to make sure it doesn't impact our diplomacy".
"But we've been put into this position", he said.
"Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use", said Rep. Mark Meadows, Republican-North Carolina, a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently. They call the wall ineffective and say it's a symbol that does not reflect the nation's values. Among Democrats, just 7 per cent say the situation amounts to a crisis, and 52 per cent say conditions are serious.