While Trump’s decision to finally sign bipartisan spending legislation and prevent another government shutdown came with a sigh of relief for most politicians, his insistence on declaring a national emergency in order to secure border wall funding has surely sapped any solace from House democrats.
“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action—including a national emergency—to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement.
However, Dem. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joaquin Castro have already stepped up and vowed to not let the President get away with declaring an emergency where there isn’t one. In a statement on Thursday, Castro said, “If President Trump declares a national emergency to fund his border wall, I’m prepared to introduce a resolution to terminate the President’s emergency declaration.” Ocasio-Cortez responded in kind with a tweet:
While Trump asked for $5.7 billion for border wall spending, the bipartisan legislation that he signed allocates only $1.58 billion, or 55 miles of barrier. Declaring a national emergency would set Trump up to find as much as $8 billion more for wall funding. Speaking from the Rose Garden Friday, Trump admitted to reporters that there was, in fact, no national emergency, saying, “I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. But I’d rather do it much faster.” This has prompted great backlash and a trending Twitter topic in #FakeTrumpEmergency, with politicians and pundits from both sides of the aisle criticizing the move as an abuse of power.
All-star conservative talking head Ann Coulter said, “The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot,” while Congresswoman Ilhan Omar had a better idea for declaration of emergency, saying in a tweet that “our next President should declare a #NationalEmergency on day 1 to address the existential threat to all life on the planet posed by Climate Change.”
Hopefully, the significant backlash to such an obviously fraudulent—if not unconstitutional—political ploy will upend Trump’s attempted cash-grab, and Ocasio-Cortez and Castro will invoke the much-needed checking powers of the National Emergencies Act.