Even Trump's most obedient lackeys are saying a national emergency declaration to build a wall is going too far.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will gleefully vote to put a belligerent alleged attempted rapist on the Supreme Court, but even she can't stomach the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency to build a border wall.
Collins said it would be a mistake to declare a national emergency in this case, would undermine the role of Congress, and would be "of dubious constitutionality."
The statement came just before Trump's Friday morning declaration of a national emergency as a way to pilfer billions of dollars to build a wall. Trump made the announcement after signing a funding bill that contained far less money than he demanded.
But before Trump officially declared a national emergency, criticism for the plan came from all corners of Congress.
In a surprise to few, Democrats lambasted the plan as "crazy," "ridiculous," and "a gross abuse of the power." Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said of Trump "being a failed politician who can't persuade Congress or the public or Mexico to pay for your racist wall may be a blow to your ego, but it's most certainly not a national emergency."
But Trump also received an unusually high level of criticism from members of his own party. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) said Trump was "circumventing Congress and Article I of the Constitution," and setting a dangerous precedent.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also has concerns about Trump's authority to make such a declaration, saying, "no crisis justifies violating the Constitution."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) echoed this criticism, noting, "The Constitution's pretty clear: spending originates and is directed by Congress, so I'm not really for" Trump's emergency declaration.
Even Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a member of the GOP's Senate leadership, criticized the move as "a dangerous step."
While many Republicans focused on the danger or lack of authority Trump has to do what he wants to do, others were more blunt. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said, "I never thought that was a good idea. I still don't."
Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) called the plan an inappropriate way to bypass Congress.
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) called the decision both a mistake and a dangerous precedent.
While it is easy to send out a press release attacking an unconstitutional power grab by Trump, the real test for Republicans will come when Congress takes action.
Congress has the authority to terminate a presidential emergency declaration. And several members of Congress have indicated they will seek to use that authority. If the Democratic-controlled House passes a such a resolution, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must hold a vote on it within a few weeks.
In the past, Republicans have preened in front of the camera with concerns about Trump only to back down when it came time to take action. In a joint statement, Pelosi and Schumer called on Republican colleagues to join Democrats to defend the Constitution against Trump's "unlawful declaration."
But if past actions are any indicator, it is unlikely Republicans in Congress will do a thing.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.