Dick Morris: Emergency Declaration Won't Set a Bad Precedent


The Hill reported that at least ten Republican senators are seriously considering bolting from President Donald Trump and voting against his declaration of an emergency on the southern border. Funding for the wall could only come from this declaration in the wake of Congress’ failure to provide adequate funding for this vital project.

We need to pressure these senators to back the president and to support the emergency declaration:

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Sen. Thom Tillis (North Carolina)

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Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee)

Sen. Cory Gardner (Colorado)

Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida)

Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)

Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas)

Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky)

Many of these senators have picked up on an argument first articulated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that approving the Trump declaration could set a precedent for a Democratic president to achieve such diverse goals as gun control and climate change mitigation by declaring an emergency, bypassing Congress.

The argument is absurd.

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Trump’s power to declare an emergency to secure the southern border stems directly from his duties as commander in chief. Neither gun control nor climate change would even vaguely relate to this key presidential power.

Some also argue that the declaration is unconstitutional. But all Trump has done is to take funds allocated by Congress for military construction and re-prioritized them. Bear in mind that the projects he will de-fund are not earmarked in appropriations bills but are simply those identified by the secretary of defense and the corps of engineers as being priorities. The president is not reversing any act of Congress, he is just re-allocating funds already appropriated to different projects.

As Republicans and conservatives, we must bring pressure to bear on the wavering senators. If you live in Utah — where I was privileged to visit and invited to speak last weekend, I suggest urgently that you contact your Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney to urge support for the president.

Conservatives around the country should also hone in on Sen. Rubio of Florida. As a presidential candidate, he claimed that he would move aggressively to secure the border. But now Rubio says that other military construction projects should have priority and has indicated that he might vote against the emergency declaration. We should remind him that we will not forget it if he abandons Trump and votes against the declaration that is the only way to build the wall.  When he runs for president again, this vote may come back to haunt him.

If Congress passes a resolution of disapproval of the emergency declaration, Trump can and will veto it. Clearly, his veto will be sustained. But a congressional resolution of disapproval will clearly weaken his hand in the court battle to come.

Sign the petition telling Congress to back President Trump on the border wall — Click here!

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Dick Morris is a former adviser to President Bill Clinton as well as a political author, pollster and consultant. His most recent book, "50 Shades of Politics," was written with his wife, Eileen McGann.