politics

Trump’s wall words will be used against him
President may have undercut his own argument that the border emergency is, well, an emergency

Protesters erect a cardboard wall in front of the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there were a hall of fame of legal self-owns, there would be a spot of honor for a line Friday from President Donald Trump as he announced that he would declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

To do so, Trump plans in part to use the National Emergency Act of 1976, but he undercut his argument that it was an emergency at all.

Trump wings it in feisty, combative Rose Garden emergency announcement
POTUS berates reporters, slams Dems as policy event morphs into campaign rally

\President Donald Trump speaks in the White House Rose Garden on Friday. Trump said he would declare a national emergency to free up federal funding to build a wall along the southern border. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS  — A testy and combative President Donald Trump winged it Friday in the Rose Garden, turning an often-rambling defense of his border security emergency into a 2020 assault on Democrats.

Trump has redefined the presidency around his unique style and penchant for unpredictable and unprecedented moves, as well as the sharp rhetoric he uses both at the White House and his rowdy campaign rallies. But there was something different during Trump’s remarks Friday, with the president leading off his remarks by talking about anything but the compromise funding measure and border security actions he signed later that day.

Green New Deal: Some Democrats on the fence
Top Democrats who would oversee legislation in the House are reluctant to endorse plan that would remake economy

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have championed the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A resolution outlining the goals of the Green New Deal capped off its first week of a somewhat messy rollout with mixed reviews, even from typically Democratic strongholds like labor unions.

In the House, the top two Democrats who would oversee any legislation that comes out of the plan have remained reluctant to fully endorse it, stopping at lauding the goals and the enthusiasm behind them. And Republicans quickly branded the Green New Deal as an extreme, socialist plan with unrealistic proposals to eliminate air travel and cows.

Democrats will push back on national emergency in Congress and courts
Congress will defend its constitutional authority over spending ‘using every remedy available,’ Democratic leaders vow

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats will push back against the president's national emergency declaration in Congress, the courts and the public. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer promise that Democrats in Congress — hopefully joined by some Republicans — will push back against President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration in multiple arenas. 

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’ exclusive power of the purse, which our founders enshrined in the Constitution,” the duo said in a joint statement Friday. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

Trump defends signing national emergency to build border wall
‘Walls work 100 percent,’ Trump said in a Rose Garden press conference

Donald Trump speaks on border security during a Rose Garden event at the White House on Friday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump defended his executive action to access $6.6 billion in Pentagon and Treasury Department funds for his southern border barrier, accusing Democrats of opposing it as part of a “big con” and “a lie.”

Trump said Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Charles E. Schumer “know” border walls work, but they are resisting his proposal purely for political reasons.

Beto O’Rourke would ‘take the wall down’ between El Paso and Mexico
Possible 2020 candidate says political leaders are projecting ‘fear and anxiety’ that hurts residents along the border

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, said that if it were up to him, he would tear down the border fence separating his hometown of El Paso, Texas, from Mexico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Potential 2020 presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Thursday that if it were up to him, the border barrier separating his old El Paso, Texas, district from Mexico would come down.

“Yes, absolutely. I’d take the wall down,” the Texas Democrats said in an interview on MSNBC, on the American side of the border wall with a view into Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Republicans have concerns about Trump’s emergency declaration, too
Congressional Republicans raised concerns, but didn't denounce Trump's radical maneuver

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Friday that the president's national emergency declaration defies the Founders. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Some in the president’s party are wringing their hands about how the emergency declaration for a border wall might set a reckless precedent.

While Congressional Republicans have raised concerns, most held off on denouncing the president’s radical maneuver to circumvent Article I of the Constitution and devote federal funds to a border wall without their approval.

Trade talks with China ‘intensive’ but tariffs still set to balloon on March 1, White House says
‘Much work remains,’ Sarah Huckabee Sanders said ahead of new round next week

U.S. and Chinese officials made “progress” in trade talks this week in Beijing, the White House said. But spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not provide details as a new round of talks is slated for next week in Washington. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images file photo)

The White House on Friday said “intensive” trade talks this week with Chinese officials yielded “progress,” but there was no indication President Donald Trump is ready to delay a substantial ballooning of tariffs on Chinese-made goods set to take effect March 1.

“These detailed and intensive discussions led to progress between the two parties,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Much work remains, however.”

Why 19 Democrats and 109 Republicans voted against the government funding deal
Democratic defections were mostly Hispanic Caucus members, progressives concerned about immigration enforcement

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined 18 other House Democrats and 109 House Republicans in voting against the compromise spending package Thursday night. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats were just two votes short Thursday night of being able to clear a fiscal 2019 appropriations package without Republican help, while less than half of the GOP conference voted for the bill to avert another government shutdown.

That dynamic may foreshadow battles ahead as the new House Democratic majority will try to exert its influence over government spending while still having to deal with a Republican president and Senate. 

Most 2020 Democratic candidates opposed spending bill
Booker, Harris, Gillibrand and Warren voted no, while Klobuchar voted yes

Gillibrand and her liberal colleagues in the Senate who are running for president opposed the spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats eyeing the White House split their vote Thursday on the compromise spending package that would avert another government shutdown, with nearly all the candidates who have already announced bids voting against it.

The Senate overwhelmingly adopted the conference report, 83-16, but five Democrats, including four presidential contenders — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — joined 11 Republicans in voting ‘no.’