Trump Declares ‘National Emergency’ At Border, Admits “I Didn’t Need To Do This”

President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border while at the same time undercutting his own case for doing so.

As expected, President Trump announced this morning that he was declaring a national emergency in order to get up to an extra $8 billion to build his border wall, setting up the prospect of confrontations with Congress and the Courts that are likely to define the rest of his first term in office:

WASHINGTON — President Trump declared a national emergency at the border on Friday to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a fundamental confrontation over separation of powers.

In a televised announcement in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign the declaration to protect the country from the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico, which he characterized as a profound threat to national security.

“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,” he said. “It’s an invasion,” he added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

The declaration will enable Mr. Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will also use more traditional presidential budgetary discretion to tap $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund.

Combined with the $1.375 billion authorized for fencing in a spending package passed by Congress on Thursday night, Mr. Trump would then have about $8 billion in all to advance construction of new barriers and repairs or replacement of existing barriers along the border this year, significantly more than the $5.7 billion that Congress refused to give him.

The president’s decision, previewed on Thursday, triggered instant condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans, who called it an unconstitutional abuse of his authority.

“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,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said in a joint statement.

The two vowed to try to overturn the decision, appealing to Republicans to join them. “The president is not above the law,” they said. “The Congress cannot let the president shred the Constitution.”

(…)

White House officials rejected critics who said Mr. Trump was creating a precedent that future presidents could use to ignore the will of Congress. Republicans have expressed concern that a Democratic commander in chief could cite Mr. Trump’s move to declare a national emergency over gun violence or climate change without legislation from Congress.

“It actually creates zero precedent,” Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, told reporters on Friday morning. “This is authority given to the president in law already. It’s not as if he didn’t get what he wanted and waved a magic wand to get some money.”

Presidents have declared national emergencies under a 1970s-era law 58 times and 31 of those emergencies remain active. But most of them dealt with foreign crises and involved freezing property or taking other actions against national adversaries, not redirecting money without explicit congressional authorization.

White House officials cited only two times that such emergency declarations were used by presidents to spend money without legislative approval — once by President George Bush in November 1990 during the run-up to the Persian Gulf War and again by his son, President George W. Bush, in November 2001 after the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

In both of those cases, the presidents were responding to new events — the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Al Qaeda’s assault on America — and were moving military money around to use for military purposes. Neither was taking action specifically rejected by Congress.

In Mr. Trump’s case, he is defining a longstanding situation at the border as an emergency even though illegal crossings have actually fallen in recent years. And unlike either of the Bushes, he is taking action after failing to persuade lawmakers to go along with his plans through the regular process.

The announcement came during another one of Trump’s patented bizarre press conferences in which he seemed to wander from topic to topic seemingly at will and without any clear indication of what the heck it was he was actually saying. As he does during the course of his campaign rallies, Trump supported his decision to proclaim a “national emergency” with statements that have only a passing resemblance to the truth and in some cases were just outright lies. For example, notwithstanding the multiple reports released by his own Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security, Trump claimed that illegal border crossings were the primary route of entry for illegal drugs, human trafficking, and terrorism. He also repeated the claims that cross-border illegal immigration was a national crisis, again despite the fact that all of the available evidence from Trump’s own government says otherwise.

These numbers, of course, indicate that net migration from Mexico has reversed to the point where more people are going home to Mexico than are entering the country either legally or illegally. Additionally, those same statistics show that illegal border crossings are far lower than they were a generation ago. Additionally, the Trump Administration’s own data shows that most illegal drug smuggling occurs at designated ports of entry or via the nation’s airports and seaports. To the extent that there is extensive drug running across the border, much of it is conducted via tunnels that would bypass any border wall this President would build. As for the illegal immigration issue, the largest and fastest growing source of illegal immigration comes from people who overstay the length of their visa or violate its terms and conditions. The largest sources of these visa overstays and violations are not Mexico or Central America, but nations such as Canada. A border wall would do nothing to combat this issue. The Administration has also claimed, without evidence, that terrorists have crossed into the United States via the southern border. The fact is, though, that there has been no instance of a terrorist attack committed by someone who crossed the border illegally. In short, there is no factual basis for the declaration of a national emergency and Trump was simply lying.

The press conference got truly bizarre when Trump started taking questions and several reporters asked him to justify where he was getting his numbers given the fact that his own government was reporting numbers that seemed to clearly establish that he was not telling the truth. In response to such a question from CNN’s Jim Acosta, who has long been a target of the President’s, Trump refused to answer the question and declared CNN to be “Fake News.” When another reporter asked a similar question, the President refused to answer the question and told the reporter to “sit down.”

Perhaps the most telling part of the press conference, though, came in an exchange with NBC News reporter Peter Alexander:

When NBC’s Peter Alexander got the mic, he noted that Trump told Fox & Friends in 2014 that former president Barack Obama could be impeached for supposedly abusing his constitutional authority by using executive orders to enact his immigration agenda. Alexander also noted that by signing Congress’ latest bipartisan border security deal, Trump would get less wall money than he would’ve gotten if he accepted the deal that was presented to him before the government’s recent shutdown.

At that point, Trump interjected before Alexander got to his actual question, insisting “I went through Congress, I made a deal.”

“I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn’t supposed to get one dollar,” Trump said. “Well, I got $1.4 billion, but I’m not happy with it…I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.”

Trump also claimed he got “billions of dollars for other things” that supposedly went beyond his original demands for border security. He continued to tout his own supposed success before turning his ire towards the obstruction he faces from Democrats.

Here’s the video:

This is an obviously damaging admission on the part of the President that is likely to be used against the Administration both in political arguments and in the inevitable court challenges that are likely to come in the near future. If the President is admitting that he “didn’t need to do this” and that the main reason for declaring a national emergency is so he can get the wall built “much faster,” then that is a pretty strong admission on his part that there is, in fact, no emergency to justify the action that he took today. This is important because, generally speaking, courts have not looked behind the reasoning for a President’s decision to declare an emergency due to the fact that the National Emergencies Act and other laws that allow the President to make such declarations give the President broad discretion to determine when an emergency exists. As we saw in the various court reviews in connection with the President’s Muslim Travel Ban, though, that court practice of not looking behind the reasoning of Presidential decisions in the national security is not universal. When we have an admission from the President himself that he “didn’t need” to declare a national emergency, that’s something that is going to be brought to the attention of any Federal Judge who gets one of the inevitable lawsuits that will be filed in connection with this matter, and it’s likely to have an influence on how they decide the case. Similarly relevant to this discussion, of course, is the fact that the President has gone more than two years without declaring an emergency at the border despite the fact that conditions there have not changed appreciably in those two years. While nothing is guaranteed, this admission is likely to come back to bite the Trump Administration down the road.

In any case, as I stated in posts earlier today, there is no support in either the facts or the law for what the President has done here. Additionally, while his action will please his base, it is going to lead to Constitutional confrontations with Congress and the Courts that the White House likely cannot win politically or legally. According to some reports, the President’s own advisers warned him of this before he made the decision to go forward, but that he went forward anyway so he could claim a victory despite the fact that he is clearly the biggest loser in this entire standoff that began in late December with a shutdown that lasted five weeks.

 

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, National Security, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    As George Conway said, “I Didn’t Need To Do This, I Just Wanted To Build The Wall Faster” is going to be the first line of the lawsuits against this.

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  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @ Doug
    @Hal_10000:

    I Didn’t Need To Do This, I Just Wanted To Build The Wall Faster

    That should be the first line in any discussion of this issue, and any Democratic ad.

  3. KM says:

    Of course he didn’t NEED to do this. He WANTED to this. Just like he didn’t need to inflict the shutdown and it’s suffering on the American public.

    And unless the GOP finds it’s spine and does something, he’s going to continue doing what he wants for no other reason then he can. They’ve packed the courts with their flunkies and are now hoping one of them will fall on their sword to make this stop – which is strange because they’re too chickenshit to do anything so why would they think the SC would be different?

    They think this is a cute stunt to get their way. They have *no* idea what they’ve done – they’ve let a President straight up admit he’s doing something to circumvent the Constitution on camera just because it’s easier to get his way. If this stands, the precedent is going to Bite. Them. In. The. Ass. Very. Shortly. They just gave the next Dem President a way to win their culture war single-handed and render themselves irrelevant.

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  4. Teve says:

    What was clear during the presser was that Trump was VERY frustrated, and his brain was VERY addled, and he simply did not come across like the healthy six-foot-three 243-pounder his doctor presented to America in the very laughable “results” of his recent physical. He knows he lost, but he’s not on the “acceptance” stage of grief for WALL yet. He knows he didn’t get hardly any money for WALL, and he’s still clinging to the illusion that NATIONAL EMERGY will help him find money for WALL, but he sort of also knows that it’s going to be tied up in the courts forever, probably until after inauguration day in 2021, at which point President Kamala Harris will cancel all the lawsuits, because fuck Trump is why.

    -Evan Hurst

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  5. al Ameda says:

    Unfortunately, I think at the highest judicial level the legal issue will be whether or not Trump has the authority issue an Executive Order declaring a National Emergency for just about anything he cares to fabricate a a pretext for.

  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:

    243-pounder

    He weighs 243#, like I have an 18″ appendage.

  7. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: yeah I know dude. I’m 6’0 and 195. At one point many years ago I was 240.
    I know what that looks like.

    A) in photographs Trump appears slightly shorter than the 6’1 Obama, and much shorter than the 6’3 Jeb Bush. B) If he’s a gram lighter than 280 I’ll eat an entire canvas golf bag. maybe we’ll get the accurate numbers from the autopsy when he kicks it Elvis-style and mid tweet.

    I’m relishing that presser today.

    Trump:

    I could do the wall over a longer period of time, I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster….The only reason we’re up here talking about this is because of the election, because they want to try and win an election which it looks like they’re not going to be able to do. And this is one of the ways they think they can possibly win is by obstruction and a lot of other nonsense. And I think that I just want to get it done faster, that’s all.

    Aaaaaaaaand he just lost the court cases, the decisions just haven’t tehnically been written yet.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    I can’t shake the brain worm of Alan Arkin teaching his Russian sailors to shout, “Aymergeny! Aymergency! Everybody to get from street!” (Obscure movie, “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming.”)

  9. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08:

    Obscure movie, “The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming.”

    Not obscure for me. I saw it as a kid. I like to play the clip of it whenever I encounter a troll who speaks bad English.

  10. Slugger says:

    Cutting a counter narcotic program by 2.5 billion dollars is going to make me safer? There were more than 70,000 deaths from overdoses in 2017. Anybody die from some guy mowing lawns for less than minimum wage?

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  11. James Pearce says:

    Additionally, while his action will please his base, it is going to lead to Constitutional confrontations with Congress and the Courts that the White House likely cannot win politically or legally.

    He already battled Congress and got over a billion bucks.

    The courts….yeah, he may lose there, but that’s going to be a time consuming fight and he may yet win.

    Also, this “He admitted he ‘didn’t need to do it'” stuff needs to be put to bed. That’s a political statement, not an admission that any laws were broke. Put this into a court room and that will become all too clear. What court staffed by professional adults is going to go, “But you said you didn’t need to do it?”

    On an alternate timeline, Trump has all the wall money he wants and come 2020, the project is hampered by delays, cost overruns, and general incompetence from old master developer over there and he’s left spluttering, “But, but, but….” His base abandons him. Turnout in red states is down.

    And the Dem wins. We don’t live in that timeline. We live in the one where we’ll all be dead soon.

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  12. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    Also, this “He admitted he ‘didn’t need to do it’” stuff needs to be put to bed. That’s a political statement, not an admission that any laws were broke. Put this into a court room and that will become all too clear. What court staffed by professional adults is going to go, “But you said you didn’t need to do it?”

    Any court anywhere. See, there’s this thing called intent and another called justification. The law require justification of an action of this nature – you can’t just say “Because I $^$#&%#$*& feel like it, that’s why!” If your intent is to deceive and lie in order to meet a justification criteria, it invalidates it. In other words, if you’re saying the reason you have to do this is it’s important and urgent then immediately says the opposite, the court can and will assume you are acting in bad faith. They would be remiss not to, something any professional would tell you.

    Trump’s breaking the law by lying about the situation, period. Either it’s necessary or it’s not – courts don’t like this wishy-washy reality TV tune-in-later crap. He announced it officially during the same press conference so all of it is just as valid as the rest of his rambling nonsense. Words actually do matter, Pearce.

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  13. Teve says:

    @KM: indeed, Trump’s boy at the EPA Scott Pruitt tried to make changes to fuel economy regulations and a court stopped them on justifications grounds.

  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I wondered when Pearce would speak up.

    Prolly had to watch FOX for a while, as it takes them a bit to get the talking points strait in such an affront to traditional conservative values.

    The first few attempts must have been laughable… much like the President’s news conference.

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  15. Argon says:

    Mr. National Emergency is jetting off to Mar-A-Lago this weekend for some rounds of emergency golf.

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  16. Argon says:

    Liberal Capitalist: “I wondered when Pearce would speak up.”

    I thought he was a Poe.

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @James Pearce: Dude, I think we’ve got a honkin’ Admission Against Self-Interest here. On video. Which means it’s going to be quoted against the Mango Mussolini no matter what justifications brown-nosers like you come up with.

    Fail.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @James Pearce:

    We don’t live in that timeline. We live in the one where we’ll all be dead soon.

    Please elaborate.

  19. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Okay, this is a trivial point, but something I’ve noticed: Trump claims to be 6’3″. Melania is purported to be 5’11”. Madame Trump toddles around in five-inch spikes, which would make her, by my calculations, 6’4″. Yet she appears to be his height, or only fractionally shorter than her husband. Is he wearing lifts when he appears beside her in public? Or is she actually shorter than her advertised height? I know he is.

    Another point: Wouldn’t someone as desperately insecure as Trump want a woman who’s maybe 5’2″ to illustrate his hyper-masculinity? His dominance?

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  20. al Ameda says:

    @James Pearce:
    Trump’s presidency and his supporters remind me of a quote by former Nebraska Republican Senator Roman Hruska, concerning Nixon’s (soon-to-be doomed) Supreme Court nomination of Judge Harold Carswell:

    So what if he is mediocre? There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they? We can’t have all Brandeises, Cardozos, and Frankfurters and stuff like that there.

    Back then (1970) Carswell was rejected, flash forward to right now. It’s obvious that mediocrity is now fully represented in the White House.

  21. Kathy says:

    I will paraphrase Napoleon: Do not interrupt the enemy when he’s f****ng up badly.

  22. Teve says:
  23. Teve says:

    Hahaha dang

    Ann Coulter
    @AnnCoulter

    If we’re going to have some doofus named Jared running our immigration policy, I’d prefer that it be that pederast from the Subway ads.

    5:08 PM · Feb 15, 2019 ·

  24. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: I remember reading about a medical study years ago, where participants filled out a questionnaire, including height and weight, jumped through some hoops with whatever, and then got a complete physical. The main takeaway was that men add two inches to their height.

    I’m 6’5”. Really. People keep telling me that I must be taller because they are 6’2” and I am way more than three inches taller than them.

    I then repeat that story about the medical study, and a lot of them get annoyed.

  25. Teve says:
  26. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    In other words, if you’re saying the reason you have to do this is it’s important and urgent then immediately says the opposite, the court can and will assume you are acting in bad faith.

    Of course, Trump is acting in bad faith. He said he was going to pull this “national emergency” shit three weeks ago when all the Democrats were pumping their fists over Nancy Pelosi’s awesomeness.

    I’m no expert, but if the question before the court is “Does the president have authority to call a national emergency?” they’re going to say, yes, yes, he does. If the question is “Is the ‘border crisis’ actually a national emergency,” they’re going to say, “Well, that’s up to the president.” All the worry about setting a bad precedent accepts that this is something the president can do.

    It’s just a dumb thing to do.
    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Prolly had to watch FOX for a while, as it takes them a bit to get the talking points strait in such an affront to traditional conservative values.

    I work for a living, and though I work in an office that does have a TV, we tune it to CNN.

    Which is hot garbage.

    (It’s pretty funny to watch a CNN panel with the sound off. The one that looks angry and is gesturing wildly, making the other panelists uncomfortable, that’s the progressive one.)

    @Gustopher:

    Please elaborate.

    Our national stupidity is not sustainable. The fever is going to break, or the sepsis will set in. (I don’t actually think we’re all gonna die and that last little bit was typed in haste as I was shutting down for the day. I had a train to catch.)

    @al Ameda:

    It’s obvious that mediocrity is now fully represented in the White House.

    It’s not really so obvious. Sometimes it gets occluded by the Dems’ self-defeating resist-all strategy. Let him fall on his face. He’s not really well-liked, ya know.

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  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @Teve:

    A) in photographs Trump appears slightly shorter than the 6’1 Obama, and much shorter than the 6’3 Jeb Bush.

    I can’t speak to the 243. But he’s definitely no taller than 6’1″. You can find pictures of him from a number of years ago standing next to professional athletes whose measurements were part of their recruiting stats. People 6’2″ were taller than him. For instance, here’s a picture of him many years ago standing next to Tiger Woods, who actually is 6′ 3″. Here, he looks at most 6′ tall. Maybe 5′ 11″.

    Ok, so is there any significance to his height/weight charade beyond just revealing him to be the preening stereotype of a “low class” person that he claims to abhor? Well, to me at least, that’s all I need. But it’s also worth pointing out that a doctor that listed his weight at 239 and his height at 6′ 3″ was agreeing to lie for him. This new doctor gave less info, but did give a weight of 243. I don’t know if he put down a height too. If so, he is either letting the patient self report, or also helping Trump lie. So Trump’s orginally strange-ranger doctor and also Admiral Druggie Ronney Jackson definitely lied about his health. And this doctor either continued that tradition or just selectively reported so as not to contradict Trump’s lies. I wonder what else they are hiding?

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher:

    The main takeaway was that men add two inches to their height.

    I gotta admit, that even as honest as I try to be, I still say I’m 6′ 1″. The reality is that for most of my adult life I was 6′ 3/4″, so, yeah 6′ 1″ is a legitimate rounding up. But it turns out this aging/shrinking thing is real and for the first time a couple of years ago I dropped down below 6′ 1/2″. But I still claim 6′ 1″. And I try to be honest. I can only guess that a liar like Trump claiming to be 6′ 3″ is actually in Tyrion Lannister territory…

  29. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: that’s not tiger woods you racist that’s A Rod

    😀

  30. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @MarkedMan:
    But it’s not Trump that is claiming 6’3″ and 243#, it’s the president’s physician.

    (does everyone surrounding the pres, live in an alternative universe?)

  31. Pete S says:

    @James Pearce: I think I get your point here. You see this as similar to the Patriot deflategate case. When that got to court the issue was not whether the commissioner did a good investigation (he didn’t) or even if Tom Brady was guilty (probably not based on science). The only issue the court would consider was whether or not the commissioner had the right to punish him or not. And that case got settled in favour of the NFL.

    So this could be similar. The court case could turn not on whether there is a real emergency, or whether the presidents plan is a reasonable one assuming the emergency exists, but only on whether a president is allowed to declare and react to an emergency.
    So I think I would be opposed to the court overturning no matter how much I oppose the wall and the way we got here. Just as some Republicans are worried now about the precedent for a Democratic President to declare an emergency to implement something they oppose, I would worry about the Supreme Court as it is currently constituted overruling a Democratic President by saying “She had the right to do what she did but we are saying it is illegitimate anyway”

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Gotta admit, I don’t follow sports or watch any commercial TV. And I just realized that although I’ve certainly heard of A Rod I had no idea what he looked like. I actually had to double check just now that he was famous for a doping scandal. The reason I still remember him is that he is approaching Mel Ott’s record. For most uses in The NY Times crossword puzzle.

  33. TJ says:

    @James Pearce: What court staffed by professional adults is going to go, “But you said you didn’t need to do it?”

    All of them. But a court staffed by Republicans and Trump-fluffers like yourself might have difficulty.

  34. Barry says:

    @James Pearce:

    (Gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd).

    “He already battled Congress and got over a billion bucks.”

    Down from ‘Mexico will pay for it’.
    Down from $25 billion.

    “The courts….yeah, he may lose there, but that’s going to be a time consuming fight and he may yet win.”

    He’ll lose, but it’s true that it might buy him time.

    “Also, this “He admitted he ‘didn’t need to do it’” stuff needs to be put to bed. That’s a political statement, not an admission that any laws were broke. ”

    It’s a frikkin’ confession. It directly undermines his case.

    “Put this into a court room and that will become all too clear. What court staffed by professional adults is going to go, “But you said you didn’t need to do it?””

    The *court* won’t; the *lawyers* will.

  35. James Pearce says:

    @Pete S: Yeah, you got my point, and for that I feel like I have to say thanks. It’s rare and refreshing and expressions of gratitude are more than appropriate.

    I would worry about the Supreme Court as it is currently constituted

    As do I. I also expect the constitution of the court to swing drastically right (talking a 6-3 split) perhaps sooner than most people think.

    @TJ:

    All of them. But a court staffed by Republicans and Trump-fluffers like yourself might have difficulty.

    No. Once this sees a courtroom, it will be decided on the facts of the case and the law, not on what the liar said at the press conference.

    @Barry:

    Down from $25 billion.

    Slow clap for the Dems saving us money but fomenting a constitutional crisis when they only control the House. Do they really think things are going to swing their way?

  36. James Pearce says:

    And speaking of the Democratic House….

    Agree or disagree with the House Democrats’ decision, we should all be clear about what that choice entailed. By voting to pass a spending bill that lacked any safeguard against the use of emergency powers for construction at the border, House Democrats made it much more likely that the president’s emergency gambit would succeed.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    Then: A big, beautiful wall of hardened concrete stretching the full length of the border and paid for by Mexico.

    Now: A few miles of something, somewhere, that if it gets built at all, will be paid for by taxpayers who can also pay to have the stupid thing torn down once Trump is gone.

    That’s Trump negotiating. If I negotiated book deals that well I’d be living in a cardboard box under a bridge. And I’m nothing compared to my ruthless wife who got merch from Disney (an 8 or 9 out of 10 difficulty) and may be about to get something even more ‘impossible,’ the getting of which, should it work out, would cause the heads of our resident Hollywood people to explode.

    IOW, my 62 year-old, kidlit author spouse is way, way better at negotiating from a position of weakness against much larger counterparts than Trump is at negotiating from a position of strength as POTUS.

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  38. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Pearce:

    Try to understand–it’s over. No wall, no victory. The courts will tie this up and if Trump wins, ‘wall’ construction begins in 2034. He was put in his place like a little bitch (and by a woman). This time next year, his campaign will be dredging the cultural depths of the victimized right–socialism and paypig fantasies about AOC draining their wallets. He’s going to be a whiny loser being bullied by 30-year old progressives while his backers mock the idea of climate change or health care. The voters he needed who showed up to support him against Clinton are not showing up this time. They voted for a winner, not a demented loser.

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  39. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Once this sees a courtroom, it will be decided on the facts of the case and the law, not on what the liar said at the press conference.

    Among the things you know nothing about is what constitutes evidence. What your idol said at the press conference will be one of the facts which the courts will use to make their decision.

  40. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s Trump negotiating. If I negotiated book deals that well I’d be living in a cardboard box under a bridge.

    You presumably actually want your book deals. Trump doesn’t want his wall. He wants to consolidate his political support. That you can’t even see this when it’s pointed out to you indicates you may not actually possess the political insight you think you do.

    @Modulo Myself:

    Try to understand–it’s over. No wall, no victory.

    Right now, CNN is talking about how Amy Klobuchar is saying we need “border fencing, barriers, and also need to focus on our ports of entry.” If it’s over, maybe you lost and you just don’t know it yet?

    @Moosebreath:

    Among the things you know nothing about is what constitutes evidence.

    Evidence of what? Lying to the press? Gimme a break.

    They’re going to be deciding whether he can do that, not whether he should.

  41. al Ameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s not really so obvious. Sometimes it gets occluded by the Dems’ self-defeating resist-all strategy. Let him fall on his face. He’s not really well-liked, ya know.

    Your statement notwithstanding, I stand by my statement; mediocrity is now fully represented in this White House.

    Also, how is a general strategy of ‘resist-all’ self-defeating? Republicans did it for close to 8 years and nobody can honestly say it had negative consequences for Republicans. Ultimately ‘resist-all’ resulted in the ascension of a grifter to the White House; truly, ‘Mission Accomplished.’

    The truth is, Trump is not liked by a significant majority of Americans, however he and Mitch McConnell are getting done what 62 million Americans voted for. I have no illusions, Trump will be hard to beat in 2020.

  42. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “Slow clap for the Dems saving us money but fomenting a constitutional crisis when they only control the House. Do they really think things are going to swing their way?”

    Subject verb agreement isn’t your strong point, is it?

  43. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “Evidence of what? Lying to the press? Gimme a break.

    They’re going to be deciding whether he can do that, not whether he should.”

    Evidence that there is no emergency. Even you should be able to make the connection between the right to use emergency powers and there actually being an emergency, but I guess that’s beyond you as well.

  44. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Right now, CNN is talking about how Amy Klobuchar is saying we need “border fencing, barriers, and also need to focus on our ports of entry.” If it’s over, maybe you lost and you just don’t know it yet?”

    That only makes sense if you accept Trump’s claim that Democrats want completely open borders and are opposed to any kind of border security. Of course, anyone with two brain cells knows this is an outrageous lie, but you accept it and regurgitate it and use it to “prove” that Trump is winning. I don’t know if you are actually dumb enough to believe this, but you are certainly sleazy enough to use it in an argument, and I don’t know which is worse.

  45. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Pearce:

    Obama deported over 2 million undocumented immigrants, so I’m not sure what your point is about the Democrats. Trump tried to make immigration into a national emergency and he has totally failed at that.

  46. James Pearce says:

    @al Ameda:

    Republicans did it for close to 8 years and nobody can honestly say it had negative consequences for Republicans. Ultimately ‘resist-all’ resulted in the ascension of a grifter to the White House

    The second sentence would be my response to the first. Our politicians should be seeking common ground –for our sake– and not division for their sake.

    @Barry: No, I would not consider that my strong point. Making delicious crepes is my strong point. Would like you like some delicious crepes, Barry?

    @Moosebreath:

    Evidence that there is no emergency.

    There is no emergency. It’s a political tactic, that’s it. He’s been planning it since he signed the bill to re-open the government, and maybe even before that.

    (Another point that should be made: The “national emergency” wasn’t his idea.)

    @wr:

    you accept it and regurgitate it and use it to “prove” that Trump is winning

    The only reason I have to “prove” Trump is winning is because so many of you won’t even accept the possibility that he is.

    Klobuchar isn’t talking about comprehensive immigration reform. She’s talking about border security. She’s having the conversation on his terms.

    Pointing this out doesn’t make me sleazy.

  47. James Pearce says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Obama deported over 2 million undocumented immigrants, so I’m not sure what your point is about the Democrats.

    Obama deported over 2 million undocumented immigrants so his successors could balk at appropriating money for border security and do nothing about immigration reform? I’m not fooled. Are you?

    Trump tried to make immigration into a national emergency and he has totally failed at that.

    No. It is definitely a national emergency now, and a constitutional crisis. He may yet prevail. (The four words I always have to say when Trump’s goose is prematurely declared cooked.)

  48. Barry says:

    “Obama deported over 2 million undocumented immigrants so his successors could balk at appropriating money for border security and do nothing about immigration reform? I’m not fooled. Are you?”

    And coherence.

  49. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: I’ve had similar experiences. I’m just under 6 feet and I’ve met a lot of men who claim to be 6 feet or more who are clearly shorter than me.

  50. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    Wouldn’t someone as desperately insecure as Trump want a woman who’s maybe 5’2″ to illustrate his hyper-masculinity? His dominance?

    This points to a paradox in standards of female attractiveness in our culture. On the one hand, tall women are celebrated to some degree–supermodels, descriptions of “long legs,” and so on. On the other hand, men often find tall women intimidating and dislike the idea of dating a woman taller than they.

    The thing about Trump is that, based on the women he’s been with, he’s got pretty stereotypical tastes for a rich American white dude. And since he’s relatively tall himself (maybe not as tall as he claims, but still well above average and certainly taller than most women), he doesn’t have to worry about women being taller than him most of the time. And it’s quite possible he’s shrunk a bit over the years, as happens to most people as they age (he may well have once been 6’3″). I wonder if there was a bigger height difference between him and Melania when they first met.

  51. al Ameda says:

    @James Pearce:

    Slow clap for the Dems saving us money but fomenting a constitutional crisis when they only control the House. Do they really think things are going to swing their way?

    Democrats fomented a constitutional crisis by not capitulating to Trump’s non-negotiable demands?

  52. Pylon says:

    @James Pearce:

    Also, this “He admitted he ‘didn’t need to do it’” stuff needs to be put to bed. That’s a political statement, not an admission that any laws were broke. Put this into a court room and that will become all too clear. What court staffed by professional adults is going to go, “But you said you didn’t need to do it?”

    Trump’s “political statements ” have already been used against him in court, successfully. As proof of actual intention behind his executive actions. Remember the travel ban fiasco?

    https://qz.com/1105690/travel-ban-a-maryland-federal-judge-cited-trumps-tweets-as-evidence-to-block/

  53. Moosebreath says:

    @al Ameda:

    “Democrats fomented a constitutional crisis by not capitulating to Trump’s non-negotiable demands?”

    Murc’s Law in action.

  54. Moosebreath says:

    @James Pearce:

    “There is no emergency.”

    OK, so when this comes to court, and it is found that there is no emergency, what happens to a claim by the Trump Administration seeking to use powers which can only be used in a national emergency?

  55. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Klobuchar isn’t talking about comprehensive immigration reform. She’s talking about border security. She’s having the conversation on his terms.”

    I realize this may shock you, but Donald Trump did not invent and does not own the issue of border security.

    Donald Trump did invent and does own the issue of a 35-foot concrete wall spanning the entire border that will be paid for by Mexico.

    When he makes progress towards that, or when a single Democrat embraces that idea, you might have a point in saying that Trump won a little.

    Until that time you might as well claim that Trump wins every time a Democrat wants to strengthen social security, because security is Trump’s issue.

  56. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Obama deported over 2 million undocumented immigrants so his successors could balk at appropriating money for border security”

    Oh, look, here’s the lie that lets Pearce keep making his bullshit arguments — that Democrats are opposed to spending money for border security.

    Of course they are not and never have been. They are opposed to spending money on Trump’s idiot WALL.

    But by conflating the two, every time the Dems vote for border security — an issue about which they care — you claim it’s a Trump victory.

    That, my little friend, is what makes your style of argumentation sleazy. It’s all based on lies.