It’s an emergency because Donald Trump ‘look[s] weak’

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 15, 2:03 am.
  2. February 15, 11:53 pm:
  3. February 16, 1:42 am:
    • Federal workers can breathe a little easier, for now, anyway, as Donald Trump signed the budget deal that only gave him a fraction of the money he wanted for his wall. But with his declaration of an emergency, he thinks he can pull together $8 billion for that wall.[2] As upsetting as this is, I’m trying to be optimistic that the wall will never actually be built, even if Trump gets a victory in the Supreme Court.[3] (Unauthorized migration)

Unauthorized migration

Quite possibly the best argument for Donald Trump losing the latest round (I’m tentatively, assuming the present deal goes through, calling the third round a draw[4] after awarding the first two to Nancy Pelosi) is this:

White House lawyers have told Trump he could reprogram money without calling an emergency, according to the person familiar with the discussions who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. But Trump is concerned there is not enough money in those pots to show meaningful progress on the wall and has been determined to declare an emergency, partially for fear of looking weak, the person familiar with the matter said.[5]

If Trump is afraid of looking weak, he probably does. But as I noted,

It is true that this deal falls far short of what Donald Trump wants. But just last month, Nancy Pelosi had called his proposal for a border wall immoral.[6] If something is immoral, you don’t do it, especially when, as in this case, human rights are involved. The Democrats are accepting

$1.375 billion for physical barriers — a type of fencing that resembles the ‘steel slats’ that Trump has specifically called for, according to a congressional aide briefed on the talks. It includes a total of 55 miles, which is just 9 miles shy of Trump’s last budget request.[7]

Further, Trump is apparently planning to rearrange funding to get more for the wall, even if he doesn’t declare an emergency to do it. It is not clear that this deal will go through,[8] but if it does, round three between Trump and Pelosi will be a draw.[9]

The only change here is that it looks like Trump will declare the emergency after all.[10] And you don’t get points from me for calling something “immoral” and then supporting it anyway. You just don’t.

Rebecca Ballhaus, Kristina Peterson, and Natalie Andrews, “Trump to Sign Spending Deal, Declare National Emergency,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawmakers-set-to-vote-on-spending-package-to-keep-government-open-11550157589

Fred Barbash, Ellen Nakashima, and Josh Dawsey, “An emergency declaration by Trump will lead to lawsuits. Lots of them,” Washington Post, February 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-emergency-declaration-by-trump-will-lead-to-lawsuits-lots-of-them/2019/02/14/4aef5828-3098-11e9-8781-763619f12cb4_story.html

Noah Bierman, “Trump declares border emergency, testing the limits of presidential authority,” Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-emergency-20190215-story.html

Damian Paletta, Mike DeBonis, and John Wagner, “Shutdown averted: President Trump has signed a sweeping spending bill hours before funding expired for parts of the government,” Washington Post, February 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-border-emergency-the-president-plans-a-10-am-announcement-in-the-rose-garden/2019/02/15/f0310e62-3110-11e9-86ab-5d02109aeb01_story.html


Brexit

Rowena Mason, Jessica Elgot, and Daniel Boffey, “Theresa May defeated on Brexit again as ERG Tories abstain,” Guardian, February 14, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/14/theresa-may-defeated-on-brexit-again-as-erg-tories-abstain


  1. [1]Noah Bierman, “Trump declares border emergency, testing the limits of presidential authority,” Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-emergency-20190215-story.html
  2. [2]Damian Paletta, Mike DeBonis, and John Wagner, “Shutdown averted: President Trump has signed a sweeping spending bill hours before funding expired for parts of the government,” Washington Post, February 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-border-emergency-the-president-plans-a-10-am-announcement-in-the-rose-garden/2019/02/15/f0310e62-3110-11e9-86ab-5d02109aeb01_story.html
  3. [3]Elie Mystal, “Can All Lawyers Just Admit The Wall Will Never Be Built Because Of The Fifth Amendment?” Above The Law, January 10, 2019, https://abovethelaw.com/2019/01/can-all-lawyers-just-admit-the-wall-will-never-be-built-because-of-the-fifth-amendment/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “As usual, the Democrats cave,” Irregular Bullshit, February 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/02/12/as-usual-the-democrats-cave/
  5. [5]Fred Barbash, Ellen Nakashima, and Josh Dawsey, “An emergency declaration by Trump will lead to lawsuits. Lots of them,” Washington Post, February 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-emergency-declaration-by-trump-will-lead-to-lawsuits-lots-of-them/2019/02/14/4aef5828-3098-11e9-8781-763619f12cb4_story.html
  6. [6]Peter Baker, “Trump’s National Address Escalates Border Wall Fight,” New York Times, January 8, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/us/politics/donald-trump-speech.html
  7. [7]Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle, and Burgess Everett, “Negotiators reach deal ‘in principle’ to avert shutdown,” Politico, February 11, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/11/shutdown-congress-border-security-1163824
  8. [8]Erica Werner et al., “Trump criticizes bipartisan border deal but predicts there won’t be another shutdown,” Washington Post, February 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-wont-commit-to-congress-border-deal-to-avert-shutdown/2019/02/12/16275638-2ed9-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html
  9. [9]David Benfell, “As usual, the Democrats cave,” Irregular Bullshit, February 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/02/12/as-usual-the-democrats-cave/
  10. [10]Fred Barbash, Ellen Nakashima, and Josh Dawsey, “An emergency declaration by Trump will lead to lawsuits. Lots of them,” Washington Post, February 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/an-emergency-declaration-by-trump-will-lead-to-lawsuits-lots-of-them/2019/02/14/4aef5828-3098-11e9-8781-763619f12cb4_story.html

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