President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency in order to get funding for his long-promised border wall was defended Sunday by his GOP allies and top advisers amid harsh bipartisan criticism and a series of lawsuits challenging it.
“This is a deep intellectual problem that is plaguing [Washington, D.C.], which is that we’ve had thousands of Americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border,” said hard-line immigration advocate Stephen Miller during a Fox News appearance on Sunday.
“This is a threat in our country, not overseas. And if the President can’t defend this country, then he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office,” the senior adviser continued.
Miller was adamant that Trump was not the first president to invoke the 1976 National Emergencies Act to use military construction funds, but failed to cite other examples of U.S. presidents doing the same, The Hill writes.
Trump’s emergency declaration decision has already drawn the criticism of his fellow party members, with a number of Republicans expressing reservations about it setting a troubling precedent, and is threatening to create a divide within the GOP party. Others, however, immediately voiced their support of the President’s declaration.
“Unfortunately, when it comes to Trump, the Congress is locked down and will not give him what we’ve given past presidents. So, unfortunately, he’s got to do it on his own and I support his decision to go that route,” Senator Lindsey Graham said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
He acknowledged the funds may come from a bill that includes money for a middle school in Kentucky, military housing and improvements for military bases, but noted that “it’s better for the middle-school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border.”
“We’ll get them the school they need. But right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands,” he continued.
On Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency to bypass Congress and secure the funds he needs to build the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The move has already been challenged by various organizations, which filed lawsuits over it.
Miller signaled Sunday that the President was prepared to issue his first veto to Congress if lawmakers passed a rebuke of his emergency declaration.
“Well, obviously, the President is going to protect his national emergency declaration,” he said when asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace if Trump would veto.