Humiliated and routed by Democrats in the funding battle over his wall — second only to himself in the short list of things he cares about — Donald Trump was scheduled to declare a “national emergency” Friday morning in a bluntly obvious face-saving measure designed to make Trump and his perpetually aggrieved base feel a little better about themselves.
Anticipating Trump’s “emergency,” Nevada Democratic officials expressed disgust Thursday.
“The President doesn’t have the authority to perform an end-run around Congress,” said Rep. Steven Horsford in a statement Thursday.
“And to be clear,” Horsford added, “his unconstitutional actions threaten to take money away from drought relief projects, flood recovery, construction at Nellis Air Force Base, and local national security activities that keep Nevada families safe.”
It’s hard to imagine Trump caring about any of the Nevada projects and programs Horsford lists, since none of them are named Donald Trump.
“Declaring a national emergency to build a costly, ineffective border wall is illegal and a grotesque abuse of power,” Rep. Dina Titus said in a statement.
Sen. Jacky Rosen’s office issued a statement expressing relief that Trump and Republicans wouldn’t shut down the government again, but also unloading on Trump’s “unilateral and abusive” gambit. Trump’s “reckless move to circumvent Congress will only set a dangerous precedent,” Rosen said in the statement.
The dangerous precedent warning is ubiquitous. Even, or especially, Republicans are issuing it, terrified that President Warren or President Harris will declare an emergency over climate change, gun control, health care, poverty or some other genuine crisis that threatens more than just Trump’s vanity. Trump may be the only person to whom setting a dangerous precedent is not a concern, which stands to reason since the only thing he’s concerned about is himself.
“I’m disappointed” that Trump “is considering turning his back on this bipartisan agreement by declaring a national emergency of his own making,” Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement that went on to recite a few immigration-related issues on which she will “continue working in a bipartisan manner.”
Rep. Susie Lee said Trump was attempting to fulfill “an unrealistic and exaggerated campaign promise” through “a gross and unprecedented abuse of power and massive misuse of resources that should be use to fund legitimate disaster relief and security needs.”
And Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford was one of several attorneys general around the country who announced they are likely to challenge the trumped-up emergency in court.
There is always a chance that Trump, a flibbertigibbet and scatterbrain, may be attracted to some other shiny object, and forget to sign whatever paperwork he needs to sign to allocate federal money (that isn’t his to allocate) away from legitimate border security programs to his holy sacred wall that Mexico will not pay for.
But more likely, virulent anti-immigrant Trump aide Stephen Miller will make sure the “emergency” gets processed. And then Ford and his fellow attorneys general, Congress and multiple other parties will force Trump’s latest act in his ongoing theater of the absurd into the courts.
The “emergency” may even reach the Supreme Court and Chief Justice John Roberts, in whose hands the fate of the republic may ultimately rest until power, too, tires of Trump and leaves him behind.