As President Trump signed his declaration of a national emergency, before leaving Washington for a weekend of golf, he took unprecedented action to circumvent the will of Congress in order to make a point to his base that he is doing everything he can to build the wall his presidency is fixated on.
The emergency declaration is a powerful symbol of President Trump’s incredible weakness. The entire stupid wall debate is happening because President Trump liked the way rally-goers made his fragile ego feel pumped-up when he deployed a racist memory device and got them to chant ‘build the wall.’ Now he is embracing the rhetoric of ‘invasion’ to shred the Constitution, overthrow Congressional intent, and maintain his point of view that families and individuals are coming from Latin America primarily to murder Americans.
But let’s be clear, the wall and Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda are unpopular and growing more so. The wall, the shutdown, and now the emergency declaration are political disasters for Trump and the Republican Party. Trump couldn’t get it done during two years of GOP control. He shut down government over it but lost that fight. Now he is desperately trying to save face, so Ann Coulter doesn’t say mean things about him.
Do Republican leaders stand with the President on taking money from defense to pay for the wall or taking private land from American citizens to build it?
The wall has never been about security; it is an emotional and symbolic response to the President’s desire to keep out and kick out Brown people. The hypocrisy of this action says everything you need to know about what is wrong with President Trump. The same hard-working immigrants he is trying to wall out are the very people who Trump relied on and used and abused to help build Trump Organization golf courses and other properties.
President Trump is willing to go around the Constitution to take funds from specific programs, approved by Congress, to fund his wall, which was repeatedly and specifically rejected by Congress. When President Trump says there is a national emergency and ‘walls work 100%,’ he is lying 100%. He is conning his voters into thinking he is doing something the American people don’t want him to do and our system of basic checks and balances between the branches of government enshrined in our Constitution is simply collateral damage.
The burden falls on Republicans. Sen. McConnell and the GOP enabled Trump and his nativism up until now, offering only the occasional carefully worded and mild rebuke, but never actually charting a different path. Do Republican leaders stand with Trump in saying the President has the absolute right to override the wishes of Congress when it comes to appropriations and national policy? Do Republican leaders stand with the President on taking money from defense to pay for the wall or taking private land from American citizens to build it?
The President’s imaginary emergency and racist declaration that there is an invasion creates a crisis for the United States and for the Republican Party, which enables this President’s continued efforts to go around our democracy and Constitution and break the fundamental rules of what a President can and cannot do under law.
Frank Sharry is the Executive Director of América’s Voice.
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