On Thursday, the White House announced that Donald Trump would sign the spending bill that had been negotiated by both parties. But he will simultaneously declare a national emergency to build his wall. This pretty much sums up what happened:
Hey everybody somebody on Fox News said Trump was weak so now we're going to have a 'national emergency' so that Donald's television shows will like him again.
And Mitch McConnell is going along with it.
— Hunter (@HunterDK) February 14, 2019
The president couldn’t afford to shut the government down again. But agreeing to the negotiated compromise would be viewed by his supporters as a “cave.” So he’ll sign the bill to keep the government open, but usurp the power of Congress in an attempt to get his way.
Just before the vote on the spending bill in the Senate, Majority Leader McConnell announced the president’s intentions.
BREAKING: Mitch McConnell said Trump is prepared to sign the government spending bill to avoid another shut down, but the president will also declare a national emergency at the same time https://t.co/juuLwU5UOl pic.twitter.com/mf7BBQoZFD
— POLITICO (@politico) February 14, 2019
As part of those remarks, McConnell said that he told Trump he would support the national emergency declaration. That comes on the heels of reports that the Majority Leader had warned the president against taking such an action.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cautioned President Trump privately this week about the consequences of declaring a national emergency to build his border wall, telling him the move could trigger political blowback and divide the GOP, according to two Republicans with knowledge of the exchange.
McConnell (R-Ky.) told Trump that Congress might end up passing a resolution disapproving the emergency declaration, the people said — which would force the president to contemplate issuing his first veto ever, in the face of opposition from his own party.
As Greg Sargent explained, the resolution McConnell was referring to is part of the National Emergencies Act (NEA), which allows Congress to terminate the president’s declaration by a vote in both chambers. If the House passes such a resolution, the Senate will be required to act within 36 days.
GOP senators would have to decide between going on record in favor of a presidential declaration of a national emergency for something that everyone knows is based on false pretenses, a move that would be opposed by two-thirds of the country, or opposing it and possibly forcing a Trump veto (which they then would have to decide whether to override), enraging Trump’s base.
Speaker Pelosi’s response to the news on Thursday was that Democrats would review their options, but she noted that the president was setting a dangerous (perhaps unconstitutional) precedent.
McConnell knew all of this and apparently tried to warn the president. Trump didn’t listen and decided to go full steam ahead on a destructive course. Most of us could have predicted that. So it is McConnell’s response that is worth noting. He jumped right on Trump’s bandwagon. I hope that the people of Kentucky notice that their senator is behaving like a duplicitous weasel who’s getting bullied by a narcissistic toddler.