The Court: The President said he didn’t need to declare an emergency, did he not?
The Court: And that he just did so because he wanted it done faster?
Counsel: Yes, your honor.
The Court: How on earth is that an emergency?
Counsel: Hasn’t your time expired?
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 15, 2019
Note: the national emergency is so emergency that it will require the president*’s presence on his golf course no later than this afternoon.#BuyCannedGoods
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) February 15, 2019
Recall the 90 minute presser the day after midterm losses. Here we are again, after a similarly brutal defeat.
— Eliana Johnson (@elianayjohnson) February 15, 2019
And it was hardly a last-minute impulse decision! From the Washington Post, “How President Trump came to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall”:
President Trump knew that lawmakers were unlikely to ever give him the billions of dollars he wanted to build a wall on the southern border, so in early 2018, he gave aides a directive: Find a way to do it without Congress.
It was hardly an easy assignment. The White House had some flexibility to spend money the way it wanted, but could not move the necessary billions at will. Trump could declare a national emergency, but White House attorneys repeatedly warned him the risk of failure in court was high.
On Friday, Trump did it anyway. Stepping to a microphone in the Rose Garden, the president told reporters he was invoking his powers to declare a national emergency, then acknowledged what his lawyers had been warning him: He will get sued and, at least initially, will probably lose.
The remarkable moment, people familiar with the matter say, marked the culmination of months of heated internal deliberations between the White House Counsel’s Office, the Justice Department, the Office of Management and Budget, lawmakers and the president over how to fund the wall…
today is one of those days when a straight description of the president’s behavior sounds partisan and bad faith
“president trump, who appears to be struggling for coherent, ordered thoughts, has declared his intention to circumvent congress to build an unpopular border wall.”
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) February 15, 2019
That aspiring autocrats can pre-schedule a "national emergency" is the actual national emergency
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) February 14, 2019
Keep track of the rogues’ gallery here:
The tension came to a head in a March meeting in the White House residence, when Trump learned that his aides had secured only $1.6 billion for border fencing in an omnibus spending bill.
Trump fumed to then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that the funding was a fraction of what he would need and threatened not to sign the measure, according to two people with knowledge of the conversation.
“We gave you what you wanted!” Ryan shot back, the people said.