The mighty US border wall. A convenient political distraction? Or a pressing national emergency?
The answer to that question depends on who you ask. And key players on both sides of the widening US partisan divide are digging in as the partial government shutdown hits day 20.
US President Donald Trump, for his part, is threatening to utilise his emergency-declaring powers to finally secure the funds necessary for that much desired US–Mexico border wall.
As RAW reports, Trump had some disapproving words to say about the Democratic congressional leaders, who appear to be more stubborn about withholding the wall funding than China are about making concessions to reach a trade agreement.
And frankly, Trump has almost reached the end of his tether.
Trump done with Democratic stubbornness
As RAW reports, Trump vocalised his feelings towards House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday:
‘I find China, frankly, in many ways to be far more honourable than crying Chuck and Nancy. I really do.
‘I think that China is actually much easier to deal with than the opposition party.’
And his negative feelings further manifested on his Twitter feed:
‘There is GREAT unity with the Republicans in the House and Senate, despite the Fake News Media working in overdrive to make the story look otherwise. The Opposition Party & the Dems know we must have Strong Border Security, but don’t want to give “Trump” another one of many wins!’
Trump even revealed on Twitter that his reason for cancelling an ‘important trip’ to the World Economic forum has to be cancelled ‘because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation’.
The US President is insisting loud and clear that nothing less than what he’s after is what he will accept. As RAW reports, Trump will only accept a funding bill that ends the shutdown if it includes US$5.7 billion specifically allocated to the border barrier — all to fulfil his signature campaign promise.
Until then, the roughly 800,000 federal government employees will be jobless and without pay.
And yet, the Democrats still won’t heed their involvement in the issue.
Trump threatening a national emergency
So Trump sees no other way forward than to up the threat on a border-less nation. He says, according to RAW, that his lawyers have informed him of the power he has to invoke national emergency powers to get his wall funded. As he told reporters while leaving the White House:
‘I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,’ Trump told reporters as he left the White House.
‘I’m not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to, I will.’
Chuck Schumer is labelling this ‘temper tantrum’ tactics of the president. Pelosi has called Trump ‘petulant’, and their party are thinking this new path may be illegal.
But Trump is confident in its potential to get that wall.
Implications of a national emergency for the US
Trump has said that if Congress fails to grant him the US$5.7 billion for the wall, he would likely declare a national emergency.
‘I would almost say definitely,’ he said.
If this occurred, it would mean the goings on of the government’s budget would be stripped of any hold that Congress currently has on them. With their hands off the purse, it’s a simple redirecting of money on Trumps behalf from the Department of Defence to his proposed wall.
But you can only imagine the uproar from the governments if this was to happen.
No doubt there’d be court fights, meaning judges would then have weight on the final decision.
So, it’s unsure whether this is the most ideal path to go down. But such a path can be avoided if the Democrats would just accept and fulfil the President’s demands.
As RAW also reports, Nancy Pelosi told reporters Trump keeps ‘increasing the obstacles to finding a solution’.
Right…isn’t that what’s required to be an active leader?
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