After a reporter asked President Trump last week about using emergency powers to build a wall at the southern border, it was only a matter of time before Trump began to seriously consider declaring a “national emergency” in order to act without Congress. As RedState wrote earlier, the president is now saying, “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency, I haven’t done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn’t work out I would almost say definitely.”
It should be obvious to everyone that this is an extremely dangerous precedent to set, and such executive overreach should anger members of Congress, but apparently at least one Republican in Congress doesn’t see it that way. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) somehow finds this power grab an appropriate course and is shamelessly, disappointingly giving in — while giving up congressional power.
Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate on Wall/Barrier funding – even if the government were to be reopened – virtually ends congressional path to fund Wall/Barrier.
Time for President @realDonaldTrump to use emergency powers to build Wall/Barrier.
I hope it works.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 10, 2019
“I hope it works,” the Senator says, as he cheers the ceding of congressional authority to the executive.
Members of both parties in Congress continue to abdicate authority to the Executive when it suits, and that's one of the reason Congress has become a diminished co-equal branch of gov't & why presidents routinely dismiss Capitol hill as irrelevant. =>> https://t.co/jaDsG3uQWR
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) January 10, 2019
Furthermore, RedState Front-Page Contributor Kimberly Ross astutely observed earlier this evening that it’s evident this is nothing more than an example of Donald Trump trying to save face for breaking a campaign promise:
Overall, the crowds who cheered him on years ago are still in support of a wall and would like to see it done no matter what it takes. But these starry-eyed Republicans are acting like Obama supporters of the past. They want Trump’s agenda fulfilled no matter if it abuses the power of the presidency or not.
And declaring a national emergency for something that isn’t one is definitely abusing the privilege of the office.
Somehow, during the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, no national emergency existed at the southern border. Miraculously, once the Democrats took back the House at midterms, an emergency of epic proportions appeared! Suddenly!
He had two years with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, but he only waited until after the Democrats regained power of one of the houses. And that’s to say nothing of his repeated promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, the very same wall that he’s holding the American government hostage to demand funding for. (It should be noted here that the government was never shut down in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood).
The complete bad faith of all the conservative commentators claiming to now think billions of dollars for barrier funding inherently important is that Republicans, over and over, chose not to make it a priority in policymaking over the last two years and they didn't care.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) January 8, 2019
And Graham’s attitude is a change in tone regarding both executive overreach and the wall as immigration policy as a whole. Tim Miller, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee and communications director for Jeb Bush, tweeted out some examples of Graham’s hypocrisy:
Lindsey Graham cited Trump’s claim that he would force Mexico into building a wall on America’s southern border as proof he is not serious about the issue of immigration. "Trump is building a wall between us and HIspanics "https://t.co/jII6MlTXqF
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) January 10, 2019
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) January 10, 2019
It’s worth noting Graham was once a critic of executive overreach when the White House was in the hands of another political party, writing in 2014:
This overreach by President Obama is breathtaking, and every American should be unnerved by the implications of this decision. The executive action is unprecedented and tramples on the concept of constitutional checks and balances.
There is also the dangerous precedent that this move sets. We should not give Democrats any reason or ability to abuse executive power upon a Democrat’s return to the White House. If President Trump sets this stage with this “national emergency,” it almost guarantees that the next Democratic President will declare a “national emergency” to tackle issues like climate change. And I can assure you that you won’t like the steps the Democrat president takes while Republicans in Congress sit helplessly by, all because such executive overreach is part of the slippery slope they themselves not only allowed but applauded.
Every time one of these lines are crossed I say the same thing: Just think about whether or not you want your opponents to have this power when they're in charge. If the answer is no, you should object to it now. https://t.co/KSJtJhbcWI
— neontaster (@neontaster) January 9, 2019
There is no defense. It would be utterly lawless.
Remember, folks: what Trump does in the name of border security today, a Democratic president could do in the name of climate change tomorrow.
The rule of law matters. https://t.co/vLs09nqnYd
— Heath Mayo (@HeathMayo) January 10, 2019
No Republican and no proponent of limited government should be cheering this abuse of power, and members of Congress should focus on reasserting legislative power rather than continuing to cede power to the executive branch.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.