Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Trump Violates Constitution and Undermines America's Safety with Emergency Declaration

February 15, 2019
Blog
This morning, President Trump unlawfully declared a national emergency over a crisis at the border that does not exist.  The President himself even admitted that he “didn’t need to” declare an emergency but did so because he wanted to construct the border wall “much faster.”  This is a power grab by a clearly desperate and disappointed President who failed to get what he wanted in Congress, and now is violating the Constitution and making America less safe, all to make good on a campaign applause line.

New York Times Editorial Board: A Trump-Made Emergency

“Confronted with this power grab, every lawmaker should be bellowing in alarm. Until recently, the threat of an ‘imperial presidency’ was of grave constitutional concern to Republicans, who spent much of President Barack Obama’s tenure accusing him of misusing executive authority on, among other matters, immigration, health care and the environment.”

WSJ Editorial Board: Trump’s Political Emergency

“Rather than declare partial victory and fight again in the next budget, Mr. Trump will now test the limits of his executive power. The White House hasn’t released the details of its legal justification. But it’s likely he will employ the National Emergencies Act of 1976 so he can move funds previously appropriated for other purposes to build his wall. This looks to us like a misuse of the emergency power delegated by Congress, which is meant for genuine security crises, not to fulfill a campaign promise.”

Washington Post Editorial Board: Trump’s presidency enters a new imperial phase — and Mitch McConnell just rolls over

“By his declaration, Mr. Trump will inaugurate a new, imperial phase of his presidency. Mr. McConnell, who had previously warned him against such an action, will show he has perfected a trick: roll over and play dead.”

Los Angeles Times: Trump tests limits of presidential authority, declares a border emergency

The decision epitomizes Trump’s tenure in the White House. While other presidents have wielded emergency authority, they have generally done so to sanction foreign adversaries or combat domestic crises, such as epidemics. Trump is pushing beyond what others have tried in pursuing an emergency declaration to fund projects that were explicitly rejected by Congress, which has the constitutional power of the purse.

USA Today Editorial Board: Trump emergency sets precedent Republicans will regret

“Is the extra wall money worth trampling on the Constitution, stretching the definition of emergency, setting a bad precedent and diverting money from other worthy projects? The clear answer is no.”

NBC News: It's not a national emergency for Trump, it's a political one

So why is Trump doing this? Because he just suffered his most significant legislative defeat since the health-care fights of 2017, as he’s set to sign a spending deal that contains the SAME amount of money he was offered before the border battle began two months ago: $1.3 billion. And because he feels like his base won’t forgive him if he retreats on his wall.

The Guardian: Declaring a national emergency over the wall? This won't end well for Trump

“In Trump’s case, he is resorting to unconstitutional remedies to justify the failure of Congress to embrace his fantasy life. The only emergency facing America is the tragic mistake that the voters made on November 8, 2016.”

Slate: National Emergencies Are for Autocrats

“It is hard to imagine a clearer piece of evidence that he really does seek unconstitutional powers: If Trump’s past attacks on the legislature and the judiciary have, at times, felt like a drill, his intention to arrogate vast powers to himself under an utterly transparent pretext is the real deal.”

Democrats call on Republicans in Congress to join us to defend the Constitution against the President’s dangerous attacks.