The editors of The Wall Street Journal issued a warning to Republicans on Friday, saying they will regret it if Donald Trump declares a national emergency to get funding for a border wall.
The conservative newspaper’s editors expressed serious concerns that if Trump uses an emergency declaration for wall funding then Democrats could do the same thing in the future “whenever it is politically expedient.” They expressed their fear that such a decision by the president would probably open the door to future misuse of national emergency declarations. They mentioned that Democrats may want to use the measure on issues such as gun violence and climate change.
“If Mr. Trump did win in court, a President Elizabeth Warren might take the precedent as license to circumvent Congress whenever it is politically expedient,” the editorial warned. “Rising carbon emissions or even income inequality could be declared national emergencies.”
The Journal editors argued that Trump should not use a national emergency to fulfill a “campaign promise.”
“While President Trump may be on sounder legal footing than President Obama was when he legalized millions of undocumented immigrants, he would still be spending scarce military funds to essentially fulfill a campaign promise,” the editors continued in their strongly worded piece.
Trump visited the border Thursday as a partial shutdown of the federal government continued into its 21st day.
The president repeated his demand wall funding while on his trip to Texas. He has been hinting all week that he could go around Congress and declare a national emergency soon.
“I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t we might go that route,” the president said this week, during a bill signing in the Oval Office.
“This is about the people of our country, and we have to do what’s right at our border and many other places,” he added at the time. “They say it’s a medieval solution, a wall. It’s true because it worked then and it works even better now.”
Most legal experts believe that if Trump declares a national emergency that he will face a long legal battle, and he will probably lose. Under the U.S. Constitution, it is Congress that appropriates money for use by the government, not the president.
And Trump has another problem: He has himself in effect admitted that there really is no true emergency.
“Trump told reporters that he hasn’t declared a national emergency for his wall because he wants a deal with Congress, which means that there is no emergency.”
Trump has admitted that the only “national emergency” is that Congress won’t give him what he wants
Trump is right. He probably can declare a national emergency, but he is going to get sued immediately by Democrats in Congress because he doesn’t have the constitutional power to move or appropriate funds for the construction of his wall. Trump admitted that there is no emergency. He is mad because Congress won’t give him his wall, so he is going to try to violate the Constitution to get it.
What the Wall Street Journal has pointed out is that everything Donald Trump does is setting a bad precedent that can be used by future presidents. He has lowered the standards of acceptable presidential behavior, and now he wants to get his way by violating the U.S. Constitution. If he is allowed to do this, then the disaster of the Trump presidency will not end when he leaves office. It will continue into the future, to the detriment of our country.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.