As President Donald Trump’s government shutdown continues with no clear end in sight, some in right-wing media have been clamoring for the president to use the powers under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 “to move funds around to build this border wall” and “release the shutdown.” Conservative media figures have argued that if Trump were to do so, “nobody can second-guess him” and that he has “unfettered authority” to declare a national emergency.
Trump reportedly considering declaring a national emergency to fund border wall
Wash. Post: Trump administration lays groundwork to declare national emergency to build wall. According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration is considering building a border wall without congressional approval by declaring a national emergency and using disaster relief funds. From The Washington Post’s January 10 article:
The White House has begun laying the groundwork for a declaration of national emergency to build President Trump’s border wall, a move certain to set off a firestorm of opposition in Congress and the courts but one that could pave the way for an end to the three-week government shutdown.
The administration is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion allocated but not spent for civil works projects, two people with knowledge of the developments said Thursday.
The preparations are taking place with talks at an impasse over Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion to construct more than 200 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats are staunchly opposed, leading to a partial government shutdown that on Saturday will become the longest in U.S. history.
Some 800,000 federal workers are about to miss their first paychecks since the shutdown began Dec. 22, and problems plaguing shuttered national parks, food inspection processes and other federal services are multiplying. [The Washington Post, 1/10/19]
These right-wing media figures are pushing Trump to declare a national emergency
Fox’s Sean Hannity urged Trump to declare a national emergency over border wall funding on his radio show. From the January 7 edition of Premiere Radio Network's The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So, with the president speaking, I'm guessing he's going to declare a national emergency. And what's interesting, if you look -- what's interesting if you look at the reality of this, even a key Democrat agrees that Trump has the authority to declare that national emergency. George Stephanopoulos had the House Armed Services Committee Chairman, Democrat Adam Smith on, asked the question, “Does President Trump have the ability, have the authority to declare a national emergency and have the military build his wall?” Smith said, "Well, unfortunately, the short answer is yes. There is a provision in the law that says the president can declare an emergency. It's been done a number of times by -- primarily it's been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge. Where's the emergency? Well, the emergency is just in the numbers that we gave you. The emergency is this shouldn't be that hard to figure out because when you have that many people that are that many -- that are victims of crime happening in this country, that should be enough of a national emergency.
Anyway, but so at least we have one Democrat. Look, the problem is, is that when we play all of these Democrats that all sounded more like Trump than Trump sounded, and now they're so against it, and they're saying it's immoral and it's wrong and -- you know, at what point did -- as we keep especially the criminal aliens that, again, they commit crimes here. We're not talking about people that want to work, have productive lives, build their families, but still didn't obey our immigration laws or respect our borders, but those that then commit crimes and then get aid and -- they get aid and support; they're aided and abetted by politicians who adopt sanctuary policies that forbids and prevents ICE from following and literally implementing federal law and deporting them. [Premiere Radio Network, The Sean Hannity Show, 1/7/19]
Fox host Lou Dobbs: “He says a wall should be built; that it's a national emergency. At that point, the nation should rally behind him.” From the January 9 edition of Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight:
LOU DOBBS (CO-HOST): You know what is becoming, it seems to me, becoming clear as it could possibly be to all involved, Democrats, Republicans, the American people -- and that is, why negotiate over national security? This is the president of the United States. He says a wall should be built; that it's a national emergency. At that point, the nation should rally behind him, Democrats as well as Republicans. But without question there shouldn't be any further negotiation with these people who have been repeatedly arrogant and ignorant in their responses and refusing, absolutely abdicating their responsibilities as legislators representing states and districts whose people deserve to be safe, as the president said, to have their borders secure, and the nation sovereign and, without question, secure.
He is talking about a threat to this country in the form of opioids, drugs that are the deadliest in the history of the world. Seventy thousand ODs in this country in the last year. The list goes on. It is a national emergency, it is a crisis, and there could be no rational disputation of that. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 1/9/19]
Dobbs doubled down on his position the following night. From the January 10 edition of Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight:
LOU DOBBS (HOST): In all seriousness here, you said that you would prefer -- you implied, at least, you would prefer he not declare a national emergency. I think it's the only way forward here. He is -- otherwise, there's not going to be a solution.
But I really believe that the way forward here is for him to declare a national emergency, and simply sweep aside the recalcitrant left in this country. They have -- they have obstructed, resisted, and subverted for far too long. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 1/10/19]
Fox’s Stuart Varney: Trump has been “pushed … to the point where he has to declare an emergency on the border.” From the January 11 edition of Fox Business’ Varney & Co.:
STUART VARNEY (HOST): I think this total refusal to negotiate has pushed the president to the point where he has to declare an emergency on the border.
TAMMY BRUCE (FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR): Well, yes, it’s because there is an emergency on the border. Normally the president would be able to work with Congress to solve that problem. When you’ve got a Congress -- congressional leaders -- who are refusing to assist in that regard, this is why the president has that power, in the event something is occurring that needs to be addressed in that fashion and when the other side is not going negotiate with you. On one hand, the president cares about the country, of course, wants to find a solution. On the other hand, the other side is looking for what they think is going to get them power politically with their base or with the media, and that’s, of course -- the American people can make a determination about what’s going to best suit their interests. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 1/11/19]
Rush Limbaugh: Congress “empowered the executive branch with the National Emergencies Act. ... All he has to do is declare it a national emergency.” From the January 8 edition of Premiere Radio Network’s The Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): The executive emergencies act was passed by Congress because they were very, very certain that the Democrats were going to be holding the White House, the Oval Office, for quite a long time after Nixon and Watergate. And so they empowered the executive branch with the National Emergencies Act. He can confiscate private businesses, if he wants. All he has to do is declare it a national emergency.
When you look at the border, immigration already established as a federal government issue, federal government prerogative, national emergency, border is wide-open, unprotected. They want to get into some academic discussion about it just for the fun of showing people how smart they are, fine, but there's nothing that says he can't do it. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/8/19]
NRATV’s Grant Stinchfield: “This is a national emergency. … If [Trump] needs to use his powers as commander in chief to secure our nation, then do it.” From the January 9 edition of NRATV’s Stinchfield:
GRANT STINCHFIELD (HOST): Yes, this is a national emergency. It has been for years. So I'm urging the president to stand firm. If he needs to use his powers as commander in chief to secure our nation, then do it. Mr. President, you have my support, and you have all the support of all the freedom-loving Americans who voted for you. [NRATV, Stinchfield, 1/9/19]
Fox’s Gregg Jarrett: “The National Emergency Act authorizes the president to declare an emergency, and nobody can second-guess him.”
GREGG JARRETT (FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST): The National Emergency Act authorizes the president to declare an emergency, and nobody can second-guess him. He has unfettered authority. Congress delegated that authority to him. And they also gave him something else, a specific statute that says he can use the military, redirect them for construction of an unauthorized project, whatever it is, the president wants it to be. That can be the barrier wall, and nobody can stop him from doing it. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/8/19]
Fox News guest Bob Bianchi: “It makes perfect sense” for Trump to invoke “powers as the president under the National Emergency Act.” From the January 8 edition of Fox News’ Shepard Smith Reporting:
BOB BIANCHI (FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR): To me, politically, it makes perfect sense. I expect to hear today, “Here's a date certain, if you don't do it, I'm going to invoke my powers as the president under the National Emergency Act and under one of these sub-acts that allows me to move funds around to build this border wall to protect our country, because it's a national security interest, and then, if I get that, if do I that,” he's going to release the shutdown. Now he looks like a hero to his base, because he's taking an aggressive action. [Fox News, Shepard Smith Reporting, 1/8/19]
Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton on Tucker Carlson Tonight: “It is a national emergency when we have a thousand plus miles of unsecured border in our southern area without any ability to figure out who’s coming across.” From the January 8 edition of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): Isn’t the point that we don’t know who is coming across illegally?
TOM FITTON (PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH): That's right. But the other number is, there were 3,000 special interest aliens confronted at the border last year. And these aren't special interest aliens that we are interested in because of their hobbies. It's because we think they have a national security impact on us, and there may be a terrorist link. So these numbers are pretty astonishing when you look at the massive numbers of terrorists, or people that we suspect to be terrorists, trying to infiltrate our southern border. And he may not declare a national emergency, but it is a national emergency when we have a thousand plus miles of unsecured border in our southern area without any ability to figure out who’s coming across. We know the terrorists are targeting [the] southern border. Just earlier -- actually just last month, we deported a guy who was based out of Brazil who was smuggling terrorists into the United States. This is a serious issue and it's shameful that the political class here in town, because they don't like Trump, don't want to address this issues that places our national security at risk. [Fox News Channel, Tucker Carlson Tonight, 1/8/19]