Senate Republicans are bracing for Tuesday’s potentially controversial State of the Union address by President Donald Trump. They’ve publicly stated that they are against Trump’s idea of declaring a national emergency during the address — which would allow Trump to secure funding for his highly controversial border wall.
According to Business Insider, Trump has toyed with the idea of using the State of the Union address as a means to get funding for the border wall between the United States and Mexico. By declaring a national emergency, he would be granted special powers to bypass Congress — meaning he would not need their approval to get the $5.7 billion in wall funding he has been asking for.
“Well, I’m saying listen closely to the State of the Union,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “I think you’ll find it very exciting.”
As of this writing, eight GOP senators have publicly expressed they are against Trump making this move, which could prove catastrophic for the party as a whole. Senator Lindsey Graham has indicated that should Trump choose to declare a national emergency over the wall, it would soundly divide the Republican Party between those who support the move and those who are passionately against it. Even those that support the idea of a border wall have questioned the wisdom of using the State of the Union for such a purpose.
Some senators have questioned the constitutionality of the potential move, while others have said it is a decision designed to further divide politicians on the subject of border security and the wall. Senator Blunt of Missouri, who is actually in favor of Trump’s border wall, expressed his concerns about using the State of the Union to make a calculated political move.
“I think it sets a dangerous precedent and I hope he doesn’t do it,” the senator said in an interview.
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney has also slammed the president for considering such a move, advocating instead for officials to follow legislative procedure. Romney has stated that he is investigating ways to block Trump from moving forward should he attempt to declare a national emergency.
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged the president to reconsider this risky political move. Should he go forward and the Republican Party remains split on its support of the wall, Trump could be forced to issue a veto — his first ever since assuming the presidency.
It remains to be seen whether or not Trump will choose to use his State of the Union to declare a national emergency. Should he make that move, he can expect significant pushback from Congress — as well as many members of his own political party.