All this hand-wringing by Democrats and even some Republicans about President Donald Trump shifting money, primarily within the Defense Department, to border wall funding is all political and frankly just silly.
I give Trump credit. He single-handedly made illegal immigration and border security an issue in the 2016 election. And he’s done more than any president over my 35 years working on both sides of the border, first in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and for 24 years as the Maricopa County Sheriff in Arizona.
On Friday, Trump declared a national emergency for something that truly has become a humanitarian and security crisis in order to secure $8 billion to upgrade and build additional barriers at the southern border.
In addition to the $1.375 billion that Congress just voted to authorize, the president is pulling $3.6 billion from a DOD construction fund, $2.5 billion from a drug interdiction program (also through the Pentagon) and $600 million from a drug forfeiture fund at the Treasury Department.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are screaming bloody murder, saying Trump has “gone outside the bounds of the law.”
“The president’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution,” they said. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”
You know, I don’t recall hearing a peep out of these two when former President Barack Obama made mutliple unilateral decisions, including when he in effect created executive amnesty for millions of people in our country illegally through the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program in 2012.
Only a year earlier, Obama himself argued he had no constitutional authority to do so without Congress. He said during a Univision Town Hall in March 2011: “Congress passes the law. The executive branch’s job is to enforce the law, and implement those laws.”
Not enforcing the law was a pattern with the previous president. GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz compiled a list of 76 lawless acts by Obama administration, including DACA and Fast and Furious, which resulted in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in Arizona in 2010.
Unlike Obama, Trump is trying to enforce, not ignore, the law by securing our border.
Congress specifically authorized the building of barriers along the border in the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which incidentally Schumer and then-Sen. Obama voted for.
Trump can also point to 10 U.S.C. 284, which gives the military the green light for the “construction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”
A top DOD official testified before Congress last month that the law authorizes the Pentagon to provide support for counter-drug operations if the president requests it.
Trump is the commander in chief, and if he wants to move some money within the DOD to help him and our country to build the walls and barriers to keep out the bad guys — like drug and human traffickers and murderers — that is what he can and should do.
For Pelosi and Schumer to say Trump doesn’t have the authority to redirect money within the DOD to secure our border and stop the flow of drugs is ridiculous. His sworn duty is to protect the American people.
Where does it stop when a president of the United States cannot move money allocated for security and drug interdiction to where, in his judgment, it is most needed.
Trump’s being a good manager, which doesn’t surprise me, given his success in the business world. Congress, including Pelosi and Schumer, should really be giving him an award for good utilization of taxpayer money, rather than threatening to sue him.
I think the Supreme Court will ultimately side with the president because, while the legislature has the power of the purse, that does not give them the authority to micromanage how the commander in chief does his job.
It’s all politics. If his name wasn’t Donald Trump, Congress would not be pursuing this issue and trying to make him look bad to the detriment of our national security.
I’m glad he’s sticking to his guns.
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