Trump declaring a national emergency to build border wall with McConnell’s support will come back to haunt conservatives – Washington Examiner
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that not only would President Trump declare a national emergency to build a border wall, and that he would support it, is going to come back to haunt conservatives.
As I noted last month, the possibility of an emergency declaration became a lot more likely when Trump caved on border wall funding to end the government shutdown, thus making him feel he had to find another way to show his base that he was willing to use all the tools at his disposal to try and deliver on his campaign promise.
The idea of Trump taking such an action was then, and remains now, a terrible idea with dangerous consequences for limited government conservatives. McConnell’s blessing makes matters even worse.
Those who seek to limit the size and scope of government should want it to be more difficult for the executive to arbitrarily use power. That Trump is taking this action means that a Republican president will have been on board with using emergency powers to undertake a massive infrastructure project without the consent of Congress. What’s more, the Republican leader in the Senate, along with no doubt plenty of other Republicans, will have signed on this action, along with, no doubt, plenty of conservative Trump cheerleaders.
For the past week, we’ve been debating infeasibility of the Green New Deal. But many of its provisions suddenly become a lot more politically possible if a president is allowed to seize emergency powers in such a way. If Trump succeeds, it would not be difficult for a Democrat to declare an emergency based on the National Climate Assessment, and then go about using the military for massive infrastructure projects in clean energy.
The only hope for limited government conservatives is that any emergency declaration gets quickly enjoined, and eventually nixed, in federal court. At least then, the silver lining would be that a legal precedent would be set that the president cannot attempt such an end around Congress.
Either way, however, Trump’s action and the likely overwhelming support by Congressional Republicans will shred their ability to resist any sort of attempt by a future Democratic president seeking to broadly employ executive power.
And all for what? Even in the unlikely event of an eventual victory in court, any legal process is going to take at least a year to be resolved, without much time to do actual construction before the 2020 election, which Trump could lose. So basically there’s a non-zero chance that Trump will have gotten Republicans to go along with him setting a precedent for the next Democratic president, only to not even have a border wall to show for it.
This is a dangerous, rash, reckless, and myopic decision that should be passionately opposed by all principled conservatives.