Donald Trump

Trump Says He 'Didn't Need to' Declare a National Emergency to Build His Border Wall

"But I wanted to do it faster."

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Polaris/Newscom

President Donald Trump today suggested that he didn't have to declare a national emergency to fund his proposed wall on the U.S.–Mexico border, but did so because it would be "faster" than the alternative.

The president's comments came during a Rose Garden press conference, where he officially announced he would be declaring a national emergency. NBC's Peter Alexander asked Trump to "concede" that he was "unable to make the deal that you had promised in the past, and that the deal you're ending up with now from Congress is less than what you could have before a 35-day shutdown."

Prior to the partial government shutdown, congressional leaders were willing to provide roughly $1.6 billion of the more than $5 billion Trump had demanded. The deal they reached earlier this week allocates just $1.375 billion for the construction of 55 miles of border barriers.

Trump would not concede the point. "I went through Congress. I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn't supposed to get $1," the president said. "But I'm not happy with it."

"I also got billions and billions for other things," he added, citing "ports of entry" and "the purchase of drug equipment."

"But on the wall, they skimped. So I was successful, in that sense, but I wanted to do it faster," he said. "I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster."

In saying he "didn't need to do this," Trump seemed to be admitting that the situation at the border is not the crisis he's made it out to be. And with lawsuits challenging his declaration of a national emergency inevitable, he may have figuratively shot himself in the foot.

Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, seemed to recognize this, tweeting: "keep talking mr president."

Trump acknowledged that his administration will likely be sued over the national emergency. He predicted that just as the Supreme Court upheld his travel ban, it will rule in his favor on this issue as well. "Sadly, we'll be sued and sadly it will go through a process and happily we'll win," he said.

It remains to be seen if he's right. David Bier, an immigration policy analyst for the Cato Institute, told Reason last month: "My belief is that the president can get away with doing almost anything he wants in the name of national security." Maybe. But if he keeps making comments like he made today, maybe not.

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41 responses to “Trump Says He 'Didn't Need to' Declare a National Emergency to Build His Border Wall

  1. I listened to Trump talk and my brain tried crawling out my head-holes. Can that guy go 2 minutes without descending into a rabbit-hole of asides and discursions and non-sequiturs, without bragging about how something he’s done is the most fantastic thing in all of human history, without making some “factual” claim he just pulled straight out of ass? He’s undoubtedly the most annoying speaker I’ve ever listened to since Obama.

    1. Man, if you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.

    2. No. It’s fantastically hilarious. I’ve never been able to listen to him for 45 seconds without laughing at either his mannerisms, transparently hilarious boasts, his trolling or the way he says something. I’m probably just going to vote for him because of it. I could also see how grating and annoying it would be if you had an oz of respect for the office, which is another reason I’m probably going to vote for him.

      1. Yeah, his boasts are so excessive he’s reminiscent of a carnival barker. Everything he is in the superlative. I find it hilarious.

        1. Twitter truly is his best medium. I don’t think anything better captures his scattered way of thinking about things. He literally talks in 140 characters before he goes off on an unrelated tangent catches himself and tries to get back on target.

        2. His boasts are hysterical. The only thing funnier is watching people lose their shit when they don’t get the joke.

          1. yes. like the whole world forgot he’s been on mic/camera for 4 decades … same dude now he was when he ran USFL

          2. I honestly think that this is just how he is all the time. The joke to me is that a used car salesman can still become the president of the united states. This is a good thing.

      2. That too is my favorite thing about Trump. He has shredded an sanctity POTUS had. We’ve had all manner of terrible people be presidents, from womanizers to would-be tyrants. But we’ve never had a clown, and now we do. If a reality television star who probably hasn’t read a book be POTUS, then how important is the office?

        If anything this is a positive development. POTUS has aggregated too much power to itself. Hopefully Trump or some other joker takes the office in 2020, and hopefully that convinces Congress to get it’s fucking act together and start governing.

        Maybe.

        1. Obama was a clown in mulatto face.

          This clown thought ObamaCare was constitutional.

          He was supposedly a constitutional scholar and said, with a straight clown face, that forcing people to buy a product and service was something the Founders had the constitution for.

  2. I read “I didn’t need to do this” as “I could have done the whole wall with emergency funding”, in other words “this” is the shutdown tactic that resulted in $1.375 billion toward the wall. There’s no crisis at the border, but I don’t think it’s accurate to say Trump admitted it.

    1. I read ‘I didn’t need to do this’ as ‘Mexico has told me the check is in the mail but I want to make sure we build the wall before their check bounces’

    2. There is absolutely a crisis at the border. How long are we supposed to wait for congress to get their shot together after forty years of bullshit? Another forty?

      Fuckthe democrats, and fuck the Chamber of Commerce Never Trump Republicans. They’re all dirty cunts that should be executed by firing squad by Trump and have their heads mounted on pokes at the capitol formall the progressive traitors to see.

    3. Yeah. Hard to say what he was referencing. The shutdown? Declaring emergency? The speed (“we didn’t have to build it faster, but I wanted to”).

  3. “Emergency” is a term of art that never required “a real emergency”, no?

    (And … what, now the ACLU’s “projects” are back to being important things we should care about, not bad jokes that undermine civil liberties?

    Convenient, I guess?)

    1. Emergency is a normative term that varies from individual to individual. Discretion for that determination was vested in the President. If there’s an identifiable problem and the action taken is geated to address it and didn’t violate other provisions of the Constitution, I have trouble seeing how a court could overturn this in good faith.

      1. The open borders people don’t see an emergency because no amount of illegal immigration would ever bother them. Trump and his supporters disagree. Neither are objectively wrong. emergency is as you say an normative term.

        The bottom line here is that the statute and the authority exists. And Congress if it had wanted to could have taken it away in the spending bill but chose not to do so despite Trump saying he planned to do it.

        The people claiming that this is some kind of unprecidented explansion of exectutive powers are lying and just don’t like what Trump is doing and looking for an excuse to object.

        1. The people claiming that this is some kind of unprecidented explansion of exectutive powers are lying

          That is utter crap. When the next Prez uses the same powers – and their supporters use waddabout as justification – you will be the first one to comment that it is an unprecedented and unjustified expansion of executive power that only progtards could rationalize.

          this declaration is an impeachable offense. And while I despise Trump – I’ve found all the previous hoohaa from the Dems even more idiotic than Trump

          1. That all makes sense except for the caveat that you are 100% wrong. This is well within the power of the Exective, and is in no way an impeachable offense. Maybe you should try reading the constitution and learn about these things so people like LC, John, and myself won’t need to correct you.

            1. “…LC, John, and myself…”

              Ooof. John should take some time to reflect if that’s his peer group here.

              1. I like John, even when he is dead wrong (mostly about computers driving cars).

                1. Red Barchetta.

          2. “Impeachable offense” is a meaningless term. The impeachment power is a purely political power vested in Congress. They can impeach a president for whatever the hell they please, provided they have the votes and are willing to face the electoral consequences.

            But in terms of violating the law, please identify where. Because this appears to me to be explicitly covered by the National Emergency Act

          3. I suppose anything is impeachable. All you need is enough votes.

            But this does seem like an unconstitutional action. Congress controls spending. They chose to spend a certain amount on border protection. The president’s job is to work with what they give him, not to employ shady tricks when he doesn’t get what he wants.

            1. Congress controls the spending Zeb. They also chose to enact the national emergency act and allow the president to reprogram the money. That law counts too.

              Just because a law allows something you don’t like doens’t mean its unconstitutional.

          4. When the next President does this, he will be the same as this President and the last three at least before him. This has been done before by Presidents of both parties. Are you too stupid to see why that makes it not unprecidented?

            1. All but ONE previous emergency has been declared re foreign govts and/or foreign govt officials to sanction them for something they did overseas that we don’t like. I really don’t give a shit about enforcing the due process ‘rights’ of foreigners overseas.

              The one exception was 9/11 where the precipitating event was — 9/11. Which does constitute — an unexpected budgetary surprise at minimum.

              The precipitating event here is – Congress passes legislation which the Prez signs but doesn’t like cuz he wants Congress to fund a campaign promise (even weirder – about what the Mexican govt would pay for).

              If you can’t see the threat to the constitution here, then you are hopelessly part of the problem now.

    2. Emergency is a normative term that varies from individual to individual. Discretion for that determination was vested in the President. If there’s an identifiable problem and the action taken is geated to address it and didn’t violate other provisions of the Constitution, I have trouble seeing how a court could overturn this in good faith.

      1. God help you poor fucks if emergency is whatever the fuck President Harris says it is.

        1. It isn’t. However, this situation falls within the enumerated powers of the executive branch. As we have an ongoing clear and present danger from Mexican cartel interests and mass illegal crossings increasing in number steadily, the president is well within the bound sod his office to deal with it even if congress is make reasonable budget appropriations.

          This isn’t like all the illegal treasonous things Obama was always doing.

          1. As we have an ongoing clear and present danger from Mexican cartel interests fossil fuel interests and mass illegal crossings school shootings increasing in number steadily, the president is well within the bound sod his office to deal with it even if congress is make reasonable budget appropriations.

            Coming to a country near you, circa 2021. And you will have nobody to blame but yourself. And Trump.

          2. The media will spin it like this is a disaster and Trump is ripping up the Constitution. All while they gave an Obama a pass on unconstitutional wars and killing American citizens abroad.

            1. Let’s not forget OBAMACARE…

              1. Or using false information and unsubstantiated political opposition research to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil a rival party’s presidential campaign?

        2. God help everybody if that

        3. Ordinary Person – I agree. I’ve been saying for years that Congress has abdicated way too much power to the Executive branch. It leads to exactly that sort of scenario. They always seem to justify it by assuring themselves that only worthy men will achieve the Presidency. Those of us who have viewed pretty much every President as a petty, egomaniacal tyrant don’t view Trump much different from his predecessors. In some ways, he’s an improvement. But under current law, and with the caveat that the action doesn’t violate some other constitutional provision, yes, the president has vast discretion here.

  4. Seems to me that something that has been happening for many decades (illegal immigration, drug smuggling, etc.) is really not an emergency, by definition. It may be a problem that needs a solution, but it’s not an emergency.

    1. “Why plug the hole in the hull? The boats been sinking for years!”

      I suppose if we let illegal immigration proceed unchecked for another 30 years, we could have a bunch more states turn full blown communist shit holes. At what point is this an actual emergency?

    2. I think part of the justification is that there’s been a recent increase in family crossings and people with children, which is overtaxing the existing system.

      It’s important to remember that, for legal purposes, the official declaration is what will control, not the hyperbolic bluster of a press conference.

      1. there’s been a recent increase in family crossings and people with children, which is overtaxing the existing system.

        Those aren’t ‘crossings’. They are people walking up to border posts and asking for asylum. And the increase in that is still offset by a continuing decline in ‘crossings’. But even if those asylum request increases are overtaxing the current system it is for – asylum judges and water for dehydrated kids – not any wall stuff.

        the only emergency re a wall is campaign panic. He can’t head into 2020 having built nothing so he’s only got 10 months to build a photo op.

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