Donald Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency if Democrats don’t acquiesce to his demands of funding $5.6 billion for his border wall, and while some scoffed at the idea when it was first reported, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith says Trump would be within his rights to do so. This admission from Smith might come as a concern, especially since a large chunk of the federal workforce has not been paid since the shutdown started weeks ago.
A meeting between top Democrats and Trump earlier this week did not seem to bear any fruit, with Trump reportedly going on a 15-minute expletive-laden rant in front of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as reported by the Inquisitr. The Democrats did not budge from their position of not paying for the border wall, leading Trump to say that he could continue the government shutdown for “years”. As if that wasn’t alarming enough already, Trump claimed on Friday that he would declare a national emergency in order to get his way.
According to ABC News, Smith says that Trump can technically order an emergency even though he could be challenged in the court.
“There is a provision in law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times but primarily it’s been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq and in this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge, saying ‘where’s the emergency?’
You have to establish that in order to do this. But beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars.”
Rep. Adam Smith on whether President Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency and have the military build the wall: "The short answer is yes," but Trump would be "wide open to a court challenge, saying where is the emergency" https://t.co/UoEjLkoIzH pic.twitter.com/gg4N0NBK40
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 6, 2019
While the idea of using the military to build the wall has been mentioned before, Trump appears increasingly desperate to find a way out of the current impasse. With the shutdown entering its third week, the President is under tremendous pressure to live up to his campaign promises, but the Democrats are holding their ground. In such a case, as a source close to Trump told CNN that the use of emergency powers to fund the wall “provides a way out” for Trump, and he would be more than willing to use it.
“I haven’t done it. I may do it,” Trump said on Friday. “We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly.”
It remains to be seen how the Trump administration will resolve the current impasse, but whatever steps may be taken, it is clear that Americans have already suffered enough with the shutdown.