House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday blasted President Donald Trump’s move to declare a national emergency to build the border wall, accusing the president of making an “end-run around Congress” and warning that a future Democratic president could do the same thing on gun control.
Pelosi told reporters that Republicans should “have some dismay about the door that they’re opening” should they endorse Trump’s expected emergency declaration to fund his U.S.-Mexico barrier. She noted that a Democratic president could call the gun control epidemic claiming thousands of lives every year an emergency – a pointed threat on an issue Republicans hold dear: gun rights.
“You want to talk about an national emergency? Let’s talk about today, the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America,” Pelosi said, referring to the Parkland, Florida, shooting that left more than a dozen high school students dead. “That’s a national emergency . . .. A Democratic president could do that.”
She added: “So the precedent that the president is setting here should be met with unease and dismay by the Republicans.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced on Thursday that Trump would sign the spending bill to avert a shutdown while declaring a national emergency to get money for his border wall.
Pelosi declined to say whether House Democrats would challenge the administration in court for infringing on the power of the purse, which the Constitution gives to the legislative branch. The party is weighing its options, Pelosi said, declining to tip her hand to a House response.
Pelosi called Trump’s claim of an emergency at the border an “illusion.” Democrats have long argued that immigration issues, while important and in need of an overhaul, don’t constitute a true emergency.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Rachael Bade