Hopes of President Donald Trump righting his course and becoming some kind of grounded, levelheaded commander-in-chief were further dashed into the ground this week when he decided to declare a national emergency over the crisis he’s made up at the southern border. The Wall Street Journal helped reveal just what a mess it’s been behind the scenes at the White House leading up to the declaration, to the point of Trump cursing out staffers at one point over the team not standing their ground in funding negotiations as he wished.
He’ll now be seeking to use executive power associated with the national emergency declaration to redirect already appropriated billions of dollars in government funds towards the wall project. He agreed to sign an overall government funding package this week without the billions included that he wanted for the wall with the caveat of the emergency declaration. The package only provided just over $1 billion for border security.
Although the national emergency plan has only emerged after more than two years of Trump being on the job, it’s been a long time coming. The tense incident that the Journal shares transpired back in March of last year, when the president raged that the White House border security funding request that went into a massive spending package he signed wasn’t as rigorous as he wanted.
He shouted, scrutinizing staffers including then-legislative affairs director Marc Short:
‘Who the fuck put that in my request?’
Trump griped publicly about the funding plans at the time, promising to never sign another bill like it. Late last year, he made at least somewhat good on that promise, refusing to approve any government funding for over a month without what he wanted for the wall. He eventually agreed to funding that would have run out and left the government closed yet again after this Friday.
Internal administration deliberations over a possible national emergency declaration went into high gear late last year, around the time that the administration’s resoluteness culminated in the longest shutdown in American history. In August, administration official Mick Mulvaney told the president that the idea “makes a lot of sense,” and in the time since, he’s been looking at options for making the dream a reality at the president’s direction. Reports have circulated in recent weeks that the administration would be targeting money including some that had been set aside for disaster relief efforts in California and Puerto Rico — and authorities in both states have indicated they’d push a legal challenge against the emergency declaration.
Their legal challenges and those to emerge from elsewhere could significantly delay the wall construction efforts the president is so keen on. The administration does not seem deterred, however. The president is working alongside some of his administration’s most high profile officials, including Mulvaney, his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, and Vice President Mike Pence — a team the Journal shares only assembled in support of the wall last December, years after Trump first promised to build it.
The supposed great dealmaker has been exposed as an angry fraud yet again.
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