After the unmitigated disaster of the Trump Shutdown last month, Donald Trump is taking steps to avoid another embarrassing loss to his nemesis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Under Pelosi’s guidance, the bipartisan committee in Congress tasked with drafting a new funding bill has arrived at a consensus that does not include any money for Trump’s idiotic vanity wall. So the President is responding in the most ignorant and undemocratic way possible.
The Constitution of the United States makes clear that the Congress is responsible for all spending allocations by the federal government. Ordinarly, the president would be bound by the decisions of the Congress that is made up of the people’s representatives. But Donald Trump is in no way ordinary. It appears to be his intention to ignore – and even insult – the people (who polls show are overwhelmingly opposed to the wall) and do an unconstitutional end run around Congress to get funding for his precious wall.
Of course, Trump didn’t come to this decision on his own. That would require reading a bill that is over 1,000 pages and being able to grasp what it means. Instead, Trump is merely following orders from his superiors at Fox News who are accustomed to telling him what to do, and having him obey. It was only one day ago that Sean Hannity delivered his command to Trump in the form of commentary on his program. Hannity’s segment was built around this premise: “How Trump can take Congress’ garbage deal, and stick the wall down their throats.” That’s a particularly fascist tone to take with regard to presidential powers (something they are familiar with). What Hannity actually proposed was this:
“Step one: The president signs the deal, and uses the $1.375 billion as a downpayment for the wall. Step two: President Trump has identified some $900 million for additional construction that is already available for the administration’s discretion. That would bring the pot to about $2.3 billion. Step three: This needs to happen simultaneously, and it has the president declaring a national emergency. This is the time.”
So how did the White House respond to the bill that Congress is about to send him?
Statement on Government Funding Bill: pic.twitter.com/DrNv9D4rEi
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) February 14, 2019
Gee. That’s exactly what Hannity told him to do. And this isn’t the first time. In fact, the Trump Shutdown was largely the result of Hannity’s insistence that Trump not agree to any deal that didn’t include wall funding. This time, however, they knew that a shutdown would only make matters worse for Trump, so they decided to try to turn the presidency into a dictatorship. But that’s isn’t going to work out any better them.
The emergency declaration will surely be challenged in court, where Trump will likely fail because there isn’t any emergency. And Trump’s own words and actions are the proof of that. He has repeatedly claimed that his administration has reduced illegal border crossings. He said that he already stopped two “caravans” of refugees at the border without any wall. And he has been putting off any executive actions on this for months. All of this affirms that no emergency condition exists.
Trump is engaging in pure theatricality in order to get his way, not to secure the nation, but to be able to say that he fulfilled a dumb campaign promise (that included Mexico paying for the wall, but now that’s been forgotten). No court in the nation will rule that Trump saving face over a campaign promise constitutes a national emergency. So Trump will lose in the end. But in the meantime he will have degraded democracy and divided the country even more than he already has. And that’s the Trump legacy that will endure long after he’s gone.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.