Declaring a state of national emergency is nothing new; the executive branch of our federal government has made this declaration 58 times since 1979, with 31 of them still being in effect. Yet, President Donald Trump’s recent declaration has some unique context characteristics that create a dangerous precedent.
Here are three of the biggest problems with this recent move:
1. Declared For 2020
One of the key promises of Trump’s 2016 campaign was that of building a border wall. It is because of this that his declaration’s timing makes me want to squirm. Nothing has worsened in the past months to create an immediate need for this. The only major change is that people are now announcing their 2020 bids for the White House.
This declaration doesn’t seem to be necessary for the United States’ wellbeing, but it does seem necessary for Trump to be able to point to campaign promises kept while he attempts to once again win in 2020.
2. Declared To Defy Congress
While many are disgusted with the $333 billion spending package Congress just passed, Trump should be rejoicing that $1.375 billion was appropriated to help fund the expansion of the border wall. While a far cry from his original demand of $5.7 billion, the compromise is what most leaders would consider a step in the right direction.
Yet, Trump refuses to be satisfied with congressional compromises and the check and balance of power in our country. In declaring a national emergency and bypassing Congress, Trump is now able to access an estimated $8 billion to use for building the wall.
3. Declared Out Of Impatience
Possibly the scariest thing about this declaration is that even Trump acknowledges it is unnecessary. “I could do the wall over a longer period of time,” he commented. “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”
Declaring a national emergency in a simple effort to speed up a timeline is foolish and irresponsible. Should I be surprised? Yes. Am I? No.
What is to stop a future president from making a similar declaration for their own pet issue? In his haste to get his border wall built, President Trump has just established a reckless precedent that could carry great consequences in the future. Shame on him.
PC: Gage Skidmore