Trump declares national emergency to fund the wall

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 4:02 p.m. ET, February 15, 2019
91 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:05 p.m. ET, February 15, 2019

These GOP senators are pushing back on Trump’s emergency declaration

President Trump's decision to declare a national emergency to fund the wall has drawn condemnation from Democrats — and it has not found universal support among Republicans, either.

"I’m disappointed with both the massive, bloated, secretive bill that just passed and with the president’s intention to declare an emergency to build a wall," Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted Thursday, ahead of Trump's expected announcement. "Extraconstitutional executive actions are wrong, no matter which party does them."

"I generally don't think it's a good idea," said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida yesterday.

And Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also tweeted a statement, calling the decision "a mistake on the part of the President" and "just not good policy."

11:56 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Former Republican congressman: This is a "slap in the face to Congress"

Former Rep. Charlie Dent, now a CNN political commentator, criticized President Trump's national emergency declaration as an illegal raid of the military's construction funds. He said the move is "a slap in the face to congress and their power of the purse."

"Of course, we need to establish control of the border, and the President is incapable of articulating a coherent plan," Dent said. "But to raid military construction accounts -- he is breaking the law. You cannot take money from a defense purpose to a non-defense purpose under the budget act. That is the law."

He added that Republican members of the armed services committee were likely to "set themselves on fire over this," describing the declaration as "a slap in the face to Congress and their power of the purse making authorities."

Watch the moment:

11:54 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Pelosi and Schumer: Congress "cannot let the President shred the Constitution"

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump's national emergency declaration does "great violence" to the US Constitution.

In a joint statement, they said the so-called crisis at the border that Trump described "does not exist."

"This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process."

They urged their Republican colleagues to fight against the declaration.

"Just as both parties honored our oath to protect the American people by passing the conference committee bill, the Congress on a bipartisan basis must honor the Constitution by defending our system of checks and balances," they said. "The President is not above the law. The Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution,"

Here's their full statement:

11:47 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Trump says he doesn't know what to do with "so much money" in border appropriations bill

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Betsy Klein

Even as he prepares to sign a national emergency declaration, President Trump appeared to complain that the border security appropriations bill he will sign provides too much funding.

"We have so much money we don’t know what to do with it," Trump said. "I don’t know what to do with all the money they’re giving us."

Still, he said, the one area where Democrats refused to give him sufficient funding is on the border wall -- hence requiring the national emergency.

Trump also lamented that he wasn't able to build the wall earlier in his presidency, blaming others who he said, "didn't step up."

"Would've been great to do it earlier, but I was a little new to the job," he said.

"People did not step up – would’ve been easy, not easy, but it would’ve been a lot easier, but some people didn’t step up," Trump said, apparently referring to the once-Republican controlled House.

"But we’re stepping up now."

Watch the moment:

11:13 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Sarah Sanders tweets photo of Trump signing national emergency declaration in Oval Office

As President Trump takes questions in the Rose Garden, press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a black-and-white photograph of the President signing the national emergency declaration in the Oval Office.

11:12 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Trump says generals told him it's worth pulling DOD funds for wall

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

President Donald Trump defended his decision to pull funds from the Department of Defense military construction budget in order to build a border wall, claiming that "some of the generals think this is more important."

"Some of the generals think this is more important ... far more important than what they were going to use it for," Trump said. "It didn't sound too important to me."

Trump also touted the fact that he's increased the military budget in recent years.

11:23 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Trump says he's expecting to be sued over his national emergency

President Trump said he'll sign the final paper work to declare a national emergency to fund his wall as soon as he gets back to his office — and he's already anticipating a legal challenge.

"So the order is signed. And I'll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office. And we will have a national emergency," Trump said.

After he signs national emergency and executive action paperwork, Trump said, "We will then be sued," rattling off a possible chain of events, which included bad ruling in the 9th Circuit Court, which he has previously lamented.

"We will possibly get another bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court," Trump said, comparing the process to challenges to his administration's travel ban.

"And then, hopefully, we'll get a fair shake."

What this is about: There has been speculation that Democrats or landowners on the Souther border would sue if President Trump declared a national emergency to build the wall.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said just yesterday that the Democrats could take legal action.

"I may. That's an option," she told reporters Thursday.

Watch the moment:

11:09 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Trump confirms: "I'm going to be signing a national emergency"

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Trump confirmed he will declare a national emergency in order to secure funding to build a wall at the southern border.

He argued that his actions are consistent with those of his predecessors.

"I'm going to be signing a national emergency, and it’s been signed many times before. It’s been signed by other presidents from 1977 or so it gave the presidents the power," Trump said. "There’s rarely been a problem. They sign it, nobody cares. I guess they weren’t very exciting."

The President argued that he is doing so to address "an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs."

"We don’t control our own border," Trump said. "We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it – one way or the other we have to do it."

Trump went on to repeat his past talking points about "tremendous amounts of drugs" crossing into the US from the southern border -- even though the majority of those drugs come through ports of entry -- and addressed the issue of human trafficking.

He once again reiterated his claim that El Paso is safer because of the border fencing, despite statistics showing violent crime rates did not go down as a result of the construction of fencing there.

Watch the moment:

11:02 a.m. ET, February 15, 2019

Trump accuses Democrats of lying in "a big con game"

As Trump launched into his immigration speech at the Rose Garden, he pledged action against "the national security crisis on our southern border."

"We are going to do it one way or the other. We have to do it. Not just because it was a campaign promise -- which it is."

He then decried the "drugs flowing into our country" through the southern border, and accused Democrats of lying about drugs entering through ports of entry.

"When you look and when you listen to politicians, in particular certain Democrats, they say it all through the port of entry. It's wrong. It's just a lie. It's all a lie. They say walls don't work. Walls work 100%," Trump said.

"They go through areas where you have no wall. Everybody knows that. Nancy knows it. Chuck knows it. They all know it. It's all a big lie. It's a big con game," he said, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer.

Some context: In describing the effectiveness of the wall, Trump brought up El Paso, Texas, where he held a rally Monday night. He described the border town's crime rate decreasing since the construction of a border fence — a familiar but inaccurate claim. Violent crime had actually been falling a full decade before the fence was built.