So to no one’s surprise, Donald Trump has caved once again on funding for his stupid wall, accepting an even worse deal than what he was offered before the government was shut down and another one he could have got when the government was shut down. So the great deal maker has shown that his great skill in getting successively worse deals, as described by Ryan Bort.
Not only does the spending agreement include only a fraction of the wall funding Trump has long demanded, the $1.375 billion it earmarks for the wall is less than the $1.6 billion in funding included in the deal Trump scuttled last year, leading to the shutdown. So much winning.
The deal also “prohibits use of concrete wall or other Trump Wall prototypes,” stipulating that only “existing technologies” can be used.
It was clear after the shutdown fiasco that, for all his grumbling, he could not shut down the government again. So to please his wacko base, he has declared an emergency, something he has been signaling for some time, to give them a bone to chew on and not turn savagely on him. The fact that there is no crisis at the border that justifies an emergency declaration is obvious and people who live in the border areas have said so. Trump has essentially used presidential emergency powers to get around a policy dispute over a policy that is inconsequential except for the fact that he has made it a signature feature, starting from his campaign pledge to build a big, beautiful wall and that he would get Mexico would pay for it.
The emergency declaration is going to be immediately challenged in the courts of course.
Lawmakers of both parties have raised concerns about Trump declaring a state of emergency, and even some Republican say it could set a precedent for a future Democratic president to go around Congress.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, “Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.”
Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said Trump’s use of a state of emergency is of “dubious constitutionality” and will face challenges in court.
“We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida. He warned that Trump was setting a precedent: “A future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal.”
Ignore Rubio and Collins. They, like the other Republicans, will grovel before Trump again. Meanwhile Nancy Pelosi is threatening Republicans that a future democratic president will use this precedent, thus continuing the downward spiral into unchecked executive power.
I am glad that Democrats keep harping on Trumps promise that he would make Mexico pay for the wall. That should be their constant refrain.
Seth Meyers discusses the deal.