President Donald Trump’s allies are mounting a stiff defense of his declaration of a national emergency amid increasing signs that the biggest threat to his border wall now comes not from Congress, but the courts.
Democrats argued that Trump had launched an unconstitutional power grab because Congress refused to grant his request for billions of dollars in wall funding, and he decided to fund it anyway with money appropriated for other purposes including military construction projects.
And California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra promised to “definitely and imminently” launch a legal challenge to the emergency declaration, one of an expected flurry of suits against Trump’s aggressive executive power move.
Trump’s announcement, made during a rambling news conference Friday, came after he admitted defeat in his bid to get Congress to pay $5.7 billion in wall funding, but avoided triggering a second government shutdown.
During that event, the President appeared to undermine his own arguments in several ways by saying he “didn’t need” to declare the emergency but wanted to go faster than Congress on border security. Miller tried to clean up that remark in an appearance:
“What the President was saying is, is that unlike past presidents, he could choose to ignore this crisis, choose to ignore this emergency as others have, but that’s not what he’s going to do,” Miller said.
The senior adviser, one of the most hardline voices on immigration in the White House, also made clear that if Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initiates an effort to wipe out the declaration, using a clause in the National Emergencies Act of 1976, Trump would respond.
“He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed,” Miller said.