By J. D. Heyes
Democrats and some Republicans repeatedly â€˜warnedâ€™ President Donald Trump last week not to use existing federal law to declare a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border if Congress didnâ€™t give him funds to build new walls and barriers.
Not only did Congress fail to deliver, lawmakers passed a bill containing all sorts of â€œin your faceâ€ restrictions designed to not only deprive Americans of legitimate border security but to â€˜punishâ€™ POTUS (and his supporters).
As conservative talker Rush LimbaughÂ described the budget deal, â€œThe attempt â€¦ is to send a message to you Trump voters that itâ€™s worthless voting for him, that it is a waste of time supporting him because they are demonstrating that he canâ€™t get anything done.â€
The president anticipated a bum deal from Congress and as such threatened repeatedly to declare an emergency under the National Emergencies Act to build new fencing and walls designed to thwart illegal immigration and slow the importation of dangerous drugs that are killing AmericansÂ in epidemic proportions.
So, with such an obvious need for a declaration, given Congressâ€™ partisan inaction, why shouldnâ€™t have Trump declared an emergency? Well, becauseÂ DemocratsÂ might do the same thing someday over a â€˜fake emergency,â€™ according to the presidentâ€™s naysayers.
Fair enough. And in fact, leave it to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to threaten just that.
As reported byÂ The Hill, Pelosi â€˜warnedâ€™ that a Democratic president could someday declare an emergency over gun violence, the implicit warning being thatÂ under such a declarationÂ he or she could thenÂ banÂ certain guns. Or all guns. Or maybe even suspend the Second Amendment.
â€œA Democratic president can declare emergencies, as well,â€ Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. â€œSo the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.â€
â€œLetâ€™s talk about today: The one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,â€ Pelosi said. â€œThatâ€™s a national emergency. Why donâ€™t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would.
â€œBut a Democratic president can do that,â€ she added.
Another Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, tweeted out a whole Left-wing laundry list of â€œnational emergenciesâ€ that could be declared: Gun violence, climate change, income inequality, and access to healthcare.
Gun violence is a national emergency
Climate Change is a national emergency
Income inequality is a national emergency
Access to healthcare is a national emergency
Building a wall on the southern border is not.
— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) February 14, 2019
Obviously, none of the things Cleaver claims are national emergencies really are. But, according toÂ The Atlantic, which is no fan of this president, POTUS â€œhas access to emergency powers contained in 123 statutory provisions,â€Â as calculated recentlyÂ by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.
Granted, thatâ€™s a lot of leeway for a president.Â
But is what POTUS Trump is doing really that outrageous and improper? Not if we consider actions taken by his three immediate predecessors.
President Bill ClintonÂ said in 1996Â during his State of the Union Address that one area â€œthe federal government should address and address stronglyâ€¦is the problem of illegal immigration.â€ He wasÂ strong on illegal immigrationÂ because his administration deemed it a priority.
President George W. BushÂ signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006Â because he, too, thought the problems posed by illegal immigration were severe enough that additional protections were necessary.Â
Most recently,Â President Obama warnedÂ of an â€œactual humanitarian crisis on the borderâ€ in 2014, when he was attempting to deal with a surge of illegal immigrants from Central American, urging Congress to take action.
So in these contexts, POTUS Trump is exactly right that what is currently taking place along the border is indeed an emergency.
Whatâ€™s telling in all of this is that Pelosiâ€™s fallback argument against Trumpâ€™s declaration is that a Democrat president someday might target guns, because itâ€™s always about the guns for Democrats. Keep that in mind the next time one of them lies to you and says, â€œI support theÂ Second Amendment.â€
No, they donâ€™t.
A version of this story first appeared at NewsTarget.
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