Does the failure of a Republican majority to fund the border wall in two years of controlling Washington amount to an emergency? Kellyanne Conway took a big swipe at the House GOP for forcing Donald Trump to use his emergency powers to find funding for the barrier system. Given the history behind this action, Conway states, their complaints about precedent are a little tough to swallow. “They should not lose sight of the fact as to why the president did this,” Conway declared:
Conway then cited two factors behind Trump’s declaration. The first, she said, was his “solemn duty” to secure the border.
The second, she said, was that “the president waited for Congress to do its job.”
“It’s failed to do its job since he’s been president on securing the border, and it’s failed to do its job for decades, and so he waited for them.” …
“There’s no question the Republican House failed, and they failed us in securing the border, but they also failed to make good on the promise to him that we would get that money for the wall,” Conway said. “They completely lied about that.”
That’s, er, quite a reward for hanging tough on the vote for nullifying the declaration. Conway notes that having only 13 GOP defectors on such a bill hardly puts a dent in Republican unity, even as she follows Brian Kilmeade’s lead and bashes House Republicans for not delivering on the wall.
The problem wasn’t the House anyway. Paul Ryan may have promised wall funding for Trump, but it was the 51/49 split Mitch McConnell had to manage that was the real culprit. The logjam on any attempt to pass wall funding was in the Senate, which forced the House to negotiate around the upper chamber’s filibuster.
This may not be a great argument to put forth publicly for another reason. If the courts decide to stay out of the “what constitutes an emergency” as an inherently political question best left to the other two branches, no harm no foul. A strict reading of the National Emergencies Act would make that path plain, as Congress provided no controlling limitations on this question in the statute. If, however, courts decide to adjudicate the necessity of a declaration, statements like this are likely to be considered for that discernment. A failure of the House GOP to honor a pledge to a president is hardly an emergency, especially if this issue has waited “for decades” to be resolved between the executive and legislative branches.
Perhaps at this point it would be best to stick with “this is an emergency now because…” statements rather than review all the lengthy context that led up to it. Ryan and McConnell might be grateful, and so might the Solicitor General once these lawsuits get filed.
The emergency-declaration part of this conversation starts at 9:45. Before then, we get plenty on Michael Cohen, infanticide, and the media. After this brief blast at the House GOP and Ryan, Conway takes aim at Joe Biden and the “market for septuagenarians” in the Democratic presidential sweepstakes. (How old is Donald Trump?) Lots of red meat got tossed this morning in the forum best designed for it.