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Emergency Declaration is Unpopular and Unconstitutional – What Side Will GOP Elected Officials Choose?

 

“…a clear abuse of power that should offend any patriotic, Constitution-loving American.” (Houston Chronicle editorial)

President Trump’s emergency declaration announcement is unpopular and unconstitutional, losing in the court of public opinion and soon in the actual courts. The burden now falls on Republicans to declare whether they stand with Trump or with the American people in favor of constitutional checks and balances and the rule of law.

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “We know where the public and most legal experts stand – the emergency declaration is unpopular and unconstitutional. Now, we need to hear from every single Republican elected official about whether they will stand with the Constitution, the American people, and the law or if they will allow President Trump’s power grab to go forward unchecked.”

New polling and several key editorials make a strong case that standing with Trump carries big risks for Republicans. See below for summaries and excerpts:

New polling underscores unpopularity of Trump’s emergency declaration announcement

A new poll from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist finds that Americans strongly oppose Trump’s emergency declaration announcement, recognizing it as an unconstitutional power grab. Among the key details (click through above link for crosstabs):

  • Americans oppose Trump’s emergency declaration announcement by a 61-36 percent margin
  • By a 58-39 margin, Americans do not believe there is a national emergency along the U.S./Mexico border
  • By 57-39, Americans think President Trump is misusing his presidential powers in making the emergency declaration announcement
  • By 60-35, Americans want the emergency declaration challenged in the courts
  • By 54-33, Americans say the emergency declaration makes them “less likely,” rather than “more likely,” to support Trump’s re-election in 2020

Key national and border state editorial boards blast Trump’s declaration and place the onus on Republicans to choose between Trump and the Constitution

Houston Chronicle editorial, “Trump’s ‘national emergency’ plan reveals real crisis in America” (2/14/19):

The White House’s announcement Thursday that the president planned to declare a national emergency so he can disregard a hard-fought congressional compromise and build his wall at the border would be a clear abuse of power that should offend any patriotic, Constitution-loving American. He would be using a special power reserved for emergencies to settle a political score with Democrats, to usurp Congressional power and to just plain get his way … Americans voiced their alarm in the mid-term election. It’s time for the newly elected, and for the veteran congressional members of conscience, to check this president.

Washington Post editorial, “Trump’s presidency enters a new imperial phase — and Mitch McConnell just rolls over” (2/14/19):

By becoming a rubber stamp for Mr. Trump, Mr. McConnell has set a precedent: that he is prepared to accept any president who would treat the will of Congress, and the Constitution, with cavalier contempt …. Mr. McConnell, who had previously warned him against such an action, will show he has perfected a trick: roll over and play dead.

New York Times editorial, “Phony wall, phony emergency” (2/15/19):

in a breathtaking display of executive disregard for the separation of powers, the White House is thumbing its nose at Congress, the Constitution and the will of the American people, the majority of whom oppose a border wall … Mr. Trump betrays no interest in the collateral damage wreaked by his actions. This move will come back to bite him and his party. The question is when, and how hard.

La Opinión/El Diario La Prensa/Impre Media editorial, “Emergencia inventada (Invented emergency)” (2/18/19):

We must take all the necessary steps to stop this presidential madness that is a slap in the face of the US.  Congressional Democrats have to stand firm and invalidate this declaration, although it is more likely that this battle will take place in the courts where we expect the judiciary to do its part and defeat this measure that only promotes hatred and division…The only wall that exists is in the President’s head…what emanates from the White House is pure selfishness, hatred and division. (Translation: America’s Voice en Espanol)