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Eric Trump urges his father to declare national emergency to build border wall

Washington

IN a Tuesday night interview on Fox News, Eric Trump said he wants his father, US President Donald Trump, to declare a national emergency to build a border wall if negotiations fall through with congressional Democrats. Sean Hannity, who reportedly has regular conversations with the president, responded that he believes Mr Trump will do just that.

Sitting next to Mr Hannity for a six-minute conversation, Mr Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, blasted Democrats for fighting the president's efforts to secure US$5.7 billion in funding for a border wall, which was not part of last week's bill to temporarily reopen the federal government after the longest shutdown in the nation's history.

"One way or the other, he's not giving up," Mr Hannity told Mr Trump's son. "He's going to the mat." Mr Eric Trump didn't hesitate in offering his opinion. "I want him to declare an emergency," he said.

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Mr Hannity, arguably the president's closest ally among conservative media personalities, was quick to agree. "Oh, I think he will," the Fox News host responded.

The statement from Mr Eric Trump is just the latest indication that the president, citing "the security of our country", could eventually declare a national emergency to build his wall, thus accomplishing a campaign promise that has shaped his presidency. But such a move worries Republicans in the Senate and would likely draw quick legal challenges from Democrats.

Mr Eric Trump on Tuesday argued that his father agreed on Friday to reopen the government in the hopes that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat-California, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E Schumer, Democrat-New York, were "actually being truthful" in wanting to strike an agreement on border security and "negotiate something that's fair".

"And honestly, if they don't, declare the emergency and build the wall with the United States military because that's what people in this country want," the president's son declared. "And then redouble your efforts on legal immigration, get great people in this country because that's what America wants and that's what America needs."

The interview came less than an hour after The Washington Post reported that the Trump Organization plans to institute a federal programme allowing employers to verify whether new hires are legally eligible to work in the United States.

The news came after The Washington Post reported over the weekend that Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, had employed undocumented immigrants for years. Mr Hannity did not ask Mr Eric Trump about either story on Tuesday.

Mr Trump's son and Mr Hannity spent most of the interview targeting the current Democratic presidential contenders, with the Fox News host saying that the primary has turned into a contest of "Who can be the most radical?"

"The Democrats are not the party of JFK," said the president's son. He later added: "They've become so radicalised, it's not going to work. They've become crazy. The message doesn't even make sense anymore. It's almost an anti-American message." Mr Hannity had a similar perspective. "It's not the values that has grown us into the envy of the world," the host said.

Eric Trump took specific aim at Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat-California, the former prosecutor and attorney general of California now running for president, who tweeted on Tuesday about how the families of federal workers and government contractors affected by the shutdown are still struggling to survive "because of this President's vanity wall project".

"You look at Kamala Harris - she always goes after ICE, she calls them the KKK," Mr Eric Trump said, referring to a question Ms Harris asked President Trump's nominee to run US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ms Harris' spokesperson later told The Hill that the senator's intent was not to compare the agency to the KKK.

Mr Eric Trump also called Ms Harris' proposal to eliminate all private health insurance "so ridiculous". WP