|Donald Trump declares ‘national emergency’ over border security|
Donald Trump announced today from the White House Rose Garden that he will sign the $328 billion spending bill Congress passed Thursday to avoid another federal government shutdown before a midnight Friday deadline.
The spending package includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fencing along the southern border, much less than the $5+ billion Trump sought for his beloved wall.
Trump also said in his announcement today that he will declare a national emergency in order to redirect funds from elsewhere in the federal government, via executive powers, to cobble together an $8 billion slush fund to repair and build 234 miles of border barrier.
In addition to the funds Congress has appropriated, the White House will seek to redirect $3.6 billion from a military construction fund, $600 million from a Treasury Department drug forfeiture fund and $2.5 billion from a Pentagon drug prevention program, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters Friday.
Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi called the emergency declaration “a lawless act” and “a gross abuse of the power of the presidency.”
Even some Republicans have been privately and publicly urging Trump to avoid such a step, fearful that the expansion in powers could propel a future Democratic president to take the same step on climate change or gun violence.
During his speech, Trump repeated his assertion regarding ‘national emergencies’ that, “This has been done many times in the past – President Obama did it – it’s not such a big deal.”
Trump also took a slap at ultra-conservative Ann Coulter.
Pres. Trump on Ann Coulter, right-wing commentator who has been critical of the president’s actions on immigration: “I don’t know her. I hardly know her…I just don’t have the time to speak to her.”
— ABC News (@ABC) February 15, 2019
Trump, responding to my question, concedes there’s no national emergency to justify building his wall: “I didn’t need to do this… I just want to do it faster.”
That answer will complicate his legal case.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 15, 2019
Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer:
“This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process.” pic.twitter.com/ElxS5CU2eN
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) February 15, 2019
.@chucktodd explains the implications of the president’s Rose Garden press conference on @MSNBC:
“It was already a very tough case to make … but he made it a lot harder by essentially admitting this was a political decision.”
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 15, 2019
Dude’s lost it. pic.twitter.com/ysatfxTVFT
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 15, 2019
As I watched Trump's bizarre performance this morning — his sing-song recitation about the courts, his paranoid allusions to media reporting about his ban, his weird "I didn't need to do this" concession that there's really no emergency — I kept thinking: 25th Amendment.— Robert Reich (@RBReich) February 15, 2019
If Trump “didn’t need to do this,” how could it possibly be a national emergency? https://t.co/0fBlkKBKPk
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) February 15, 2019
No, the goal of a national emergency is for Trump to scam the stupidest people in his base for 2 more years. https://t.co/6DQSkqxV8h
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 15, 2019