White House preps for Trump to declare 'national emergency' over his manufactured wall 'crisis'
The only “crisis” at the White House is Donald Trump’s complete inability to convince anyone—the American public or enough Democratic and Republican lawmakers—that it’s worth shutting down the government over his desired $5.7 billion in border wall funding. But to Trump, that’s an emergency of epic proportions, because he’s literally afraid of wing-nuts like Rush Limbaugh.
So on Thursday Trump again said he would “almost” definitely invoke a national emergency to raid the Pentagon budget for the billions he can’t convince Congress to give him. “Probably I will do it,” Trump told reporters, “I would almost say definitely.”
The White House counsel’s office is reportedly preparing a legal justification for said “emergency,” even though southern border crossings are at near 20-year lows. The legal guys are also telling the White House to work in more “crisis” mentions in order to bolster its legal defense in court—because if you say something enough times, it apparently makes it true. Except that Trump has already explicitly undercut that legal argument by telling reporters on Wednesday that he would declare a national emergency if he can’t get what he wants: “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”
Holding talks with Democrats Wednesday in the White House Situation Room was also reportedly part of the White House gambit to make the issue seem more urgent—too bad Trump just up and walked out of that meeting when he didn’t get an immediate yes from Democrats to his desires. I mean, if something is actually urgent, you stay and negotiate, right?
Declaring such an emergency would almost surely begin a months-long stalemate that would end up at the Supreme Court. House Democrats would file an immediate legal challenge, a lower court would likely stay Trump’s order, and, in the meantime, Trump could tell his base he was fighting like hell while potentially agreeing to reopen the government.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t tell reporters Thursday exactly how Democrats would respond to such a declaration, but she predicted Trump would cause consternation among some members of his own party who routinely chastised President Barack Obama for abusing his executive authority.
“The president will have problems on his own side of the aisle for exploiting the situation in a way that enhances his power,” Pelosi said.
To Pelosi’s point, the GOP’s No. 2 in the Senate, North Dakota’s John Thune, told CNN, “Frankly, I’m not crazy about going down that path.” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to find a different way out with a bipartisan group of his colleagues also seemed like an effort to keep Republicans from the embarrassment of having their own president officially declare an emergency where there wasn’t one. Multiple congressional Republicans have also shot down the idea of stealing Defense Department money to pay for Trump’s pet project.