“What everyone wants to know is, will the president declare a national emergency to build his wall?” Stephen Colbert asked in his monologue Thursday night. “Well today, the president gave a firm, ‘I don’t know.’”
There had been much speculation that President Trump would announce his decision on a national emergency during his primetime Oval Office address earlier this week. But ever since he effectively blinked, he has been teasing that it could “maybe definitely” happen any day now.
“Listen up, I may probably, definitely, certainly for sure, though perhaps not,” the Late Show host said in an only slightly exaggerated imitation of what Trump told reporters before heading to the border. “I’ll tell you what, let me check the Magic 8 Ball. It says ‘try again later.’”
“But you know, that’s just how emergencies are,” the host added, as himself. “You can never tell whether they’re urgent or not.”
Even as Trump waffles on whether to essentially invent a national emergency, he has also repeatedly insisted that doing so would be legal, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency, the lawyers have so advised me,” he said on Thursday.
“Mr. President, if you want to know what is or is not legal, I don’t know if I’d ask your lawyers,” Colbert replied.