Art of the Deal My Ass: Boxed In Trump and His So-Called Emergency

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Trump's border emergency order will divide Republicans and may be stopped in court.

Susan Collins Chimes In

"Declaring a national emergency is a mistake."

Political Emergency

The Wall Street Journal editorial board comments on Trump’s Political Emergency

The emergency declaration will please his most ardent supporters, but Mr. Trump is setting an unfortunate precedent—and judges could tie up his wall in court for years.

Mr. Trump had little choice other than to sign the spending bill or see the government shut down for the second time in a month. He boxed himself in by saying in December that he’d gladly take ownership of a shutdown, only to discover that his poll numbers fell further the longer the January closure went on.

Republicans in Congress bailed him out by getting at least $1.38 billion for border funding, enough for about 55 miles of fencing. Mr. Trump is grousing that Senate Republicans were out-negotiated, but they had to play the bad hand he dealt them. He should be grateful because he blundered into the shutdown with bluster but no strategy.

Yet rather than declare partial victory and fight again in the next budget, Mr. Trump will now test the limits of his executive power. The White House hasn’t released the details of its legal justification. But it’s likely he will employ the National Emergencies Act of 1976 so he can move funds previously appropriated for other purposes to build his wall. This looks to us like a misuse of the emergency power delegated by Congress, which is meant for genuine security crises, not to fulfill a campaign promise.

We’ve argued that Mr. Trump might win his emergency gambit if the case goes to the Supreme Court, but it is a close call and he is taking a big legal risk. Property owners affected by the wall will sue, and the House of Representatives will surely sue as well on grounds that Mr. Trump is usurping its constitutional power of the purse. House Republicans set that precedent with their important and successful lawsuit against President Obama on ObamaCare funding.

Constitutional conservatives should also worry if Mr. Trump wins in court. A precedent will be set that future Presidents could use to impose their own priorities despite a reluctant Congress. If climate change will end life as we know it in 12 years, why not impose part of the Green New Deal? No one believes more than we do that a President needs flexibility to move with dispatch in wartime. But the Constitution is also clear that Congress must appropriate money for public purposes.

Mr. Trump’s obsession with building a wall has caused him no end of political grief. He’ll be lucky if this emergency declaration doesn’t end the same way.

Huge Offer Rejected

Those are all arguments I have made before.

A year ago, Schumer offer Trump $20 billion for a wall. All Schumer wanted in return was a deal about dreamers.

Trump foolishly turned him down.

TTF: Totally Trump's Fault

I commented on the proposed deal on January 28 in TTF: Totally Trump's Fault

The alleged "master" of the Art of the Deal had a major concession for $20 billion to fund a wall.

If $7 billion can build a wall then $20 billion could build a double wall of the same height for perhaps $12 billion.

There would have been sufficient money to buy land, not steal it, one of my primary concerns.

Trump turned that offer down.

Bluster But No Strategy

The important point is the stubborn pigheadedness of a self-proclaimed master deal-maker who is all bluster and no deal.

This is seriously pathetic no matter how you slice it, no matter which side you are on.

Art of the Deal My Ass.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments
No. 1-15
Sechel
Sechel

we should call the national emergency for what it is: misappropriation of funds

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

More online comments about why this "budget" bill is a super stinker. Anyone in Congress who supported this monstrosity should be voted out:

Escierto
Escierto

I am loving this. In 2020 when we have a Democratic president we will use this "emergency" to create national health care and far reaching climate change legislation. As part of the emergency we will remove every judge Trump ever appointed. In fact we will do whatever we want whenever we want. You will regret opening this Pandora's box as long as you live but so what?

2banana
2banana

DACA was found "constitutional" even though it did and continues to violate Federal Laws and spends billions of dollars a year. And will for generations.

You can't have it both way.

"We’ve argued that Mr. Trump might win his emergency gambit if the case goes to the Supreme Court, but it is a close call and he is taking a big legal risk."

Realist
Realist

Hi Sechel. Thank you for your insight on this matter. I agree. Short term thinking seems to dominate the US political and business environment. Perhaps that is part of the reason that pensions and health care are so badly managed (something that confounds me). You may have provided the best answer yet as to why the US seems to keep digging deeper holes to climb out of.