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GOP used to hate executive actions until Trump wanted one for his wall

Trump, Pence, and GOP senators used to be very concerned that executive actions about immigration were unconstitutional. But suddenly they’re not bothered at all.

By Lisa Needham - February 15, 2019
Donald Trump and Mike Pence

Everyone is awaiting Trump’s declaration of a national emergency so he can build the wall no one wants.

The move is a shocking overreach of executive power. It will certainly face massive litigation.

It’s also a move that, not too long ago, both Trump and Mike Pence opposed vehemently.

Back when Barack Obama was president, Trump declared that if Obama took any executive action to stop the deportation of DREAMers, it was not only “unconstitutional” but could lead to impeachment. He told “Fox and Friends” in November 2014 that using executive action was a “very, very dangerous thing” and would be “overwritten easily by the Supreme Court.”

“Fox and Friends” also fed Trump a softball question about whether Obama had done anything impeachable, opening the door for Trump to say that, yes, “certainly he could be impeached.”

At that same time in 2014, then-governor Mike Pence was also very, very concerned about executive overreach. When speaking to the Republican Governors Association shortly after Obama announced his executive action on immigration, Pence declared that Obama should cooperate with the Senate instead.

Back then, Pence said that issues like immigration needed to be addressed by Congress, rather than the executive branch, because they should “always be resolved with the consent of the governed.” Pence went on to say that “signing an executive order, giving a speech, barnstorming around the country defending that executive order is not leadership.”

This consternation over executive action back in 2014 wasn’t limited to Trump and Pence. Then-Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, warned that “the country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation.”

Not content with that, Coburn went on to say that you could see instances of anarchy and violence stemming from Obama’s efforts to stop the deportation of children.

And then there’s Mitch McConnell. McConnell has already said that he supports Trump declaring a national emergency to build his wall, which means he approves of Trump going around McConnell’s own legislative body.

But back when Obama wanted to use executive powers to address immigration issues, McConnell piously declared that “changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.”

McConnell also said that if Obama issued an executive order, he’d be issuing “a rebuke to his own stated view of democracy” and would be rejecting the will of the voters.

It looks like Trump, Pence, and McConnell have worked through all their reservations, just in time to support Trump’s wall.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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