The definition of ‘national emergency’ just got looser. President Trump declared the emergency to secure funding for his proposed border wall, and will sign it into action on February 15. We have the details.
President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency today, February 15, in the White House’s Rose Garden. The president will sign the emergency order in effect to secure funding for his border wall. The United States just ended a month-long government shutdown over the same issue, which left almost a million Americans without pay. Another shutdown is in danger of happening on February 16. Of all the things that could actually constitute a national emergency in the US right now — say, children being held in prisons at the border after their families sought asylum, Flint not having clean water for four years — this is not it.
“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” Trump told reporters at the Rose Garden after become hostile and insulting them or refusing to answer their questions. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs. I don’t have to do it for the election, I’ve already done a wall for the election, 2020. And the only reason we’re up here talking about this is because of the election, because they want to try and win an election which it looks like they’re not going to be able to do, and this is one of the ways where they think they can possibly win — is by obstruction and a lot of other nonsense — and I think that I just want to get it done faster that’s all.”
And there you have it. The president just admitted that he’s declaring an unneeded national emergency for political gains. Declaring the emergency is a workaround that would allow Trump to build his wall without Congressional support. Both Republicans and Democrats have opposed his plans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously opposed the plan, announced on the Senate floor before Trump’s conference that he would support the emergency declaration. Politically savvy celebrities have spoken out about the measure on Twitter, and they are, of course, not happy:
Political activist and Star Trek star George Takei tweeted, “I’m going to say something unpopular: A president’s power grab under guise of ‘national emergency’ is wrong when used deliberately to circumvent Congress, no matter who is in the White House. Trump may try it now, but it’s wrong. We shouldn’t hope a Democrat prez tries the same.” After news broke that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg would be returning to the bench, he followed up with, “The Notorious RBG returned to work for the first time since December–in time to weigh in on the constitutionality of this manufactured national border emergency. #Hero”
Actress Alyssa Milano, also a dedicated political activist, tweeted specifically at Trump. “Hey, @realDonaldTrump. Maybe no one has told you, but declaring a National Emergency for a wall sets a precedent that future Presidents can declare a National Emergency for: healthcare, climate change, gun reform — All of which are more pressing and dire than your weird wall.” Well said!
Maybe no one has told you, but declaring a National Emergency for a wall sets a precedent that future Presidents can declare a National Emergency for:
All of which are more pressing and dire than your weird wall.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) February 15, 2019
I’m going to say something unpopular: A president’s power grab under guise of “national emergency” is wrong when used deliberately to circumvent Congress, no matter who is in the White House. Trump may try it now, but it’s wrong. We shouldn’t hope a Democrat prez tries the same.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) February 15, 2019
As actress Piper Perabo pleaded with her fans on Twitter: “Trump is in the Rose Garden praising the death penalty + how much money we’ll make in a trade deal in the same breath. This man is terrifying. Please stand up for compassion, fairness + humanity whenever you can, as Americans we must set the example that he does not speak for us.”