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Republicans warned the left would gut the Constitution. Trump did it instead

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 2/15/2019 Erin Dunne
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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

The right feared it would be the Left that would gut the Constitution. It turned out that a Republican president beat them to it by declaring a national emergency over a non-emergency to seize power. 

On Friday morning, President Trump made that a reality. Speaking from the Rose Garden with the televised drama he loves, he declared that the problems at the southern border constituted a national emergency. Based on this, he claimed sweeping emergency powers.

That announcement followed that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that Trump would sign the bipartisan agreement to fund the government that includes $1.375 billion for a wall and, at the same time, declare a national emergency.

In using an emergency declaration to get more money for Trump's wall, Republican leadership, both the president and the Senate majority leader, do almost exactly what they have long criticized political rivals of trying to do: using the Constitution, or at least the law, as malleable documents capable of being molded into whatever version suits partisan ends.

The problems at the border are rooted in a policy issue, not an emergency. It's something Congress needs to work out. The mere fact that Congress hasn't acted doesn't constitute an emergent crisis requiring funding sources outside the normal constitutional order.

Indeed, even Trump made clear that illegal border crossings have been at some of their lowest points in decades tweeting: "Because of the Trump Administrations actions, Border crossings are at a still UNACCEPTABLE 46 year low." That data is correct, by the way.

In its relentless determination to demonize political foes, the right overlooked one of its own making. National security should never have been allowed to become the carte blanche it has become. Conservatives will live to regret this use of emergency powers, because it will be used in ways they won't like.


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