Some of America’s most prominent newspapers published searing editorials Thursday lashing Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency so he can finally build a border wall that’s supported by neither Congress nor the public.
The New York Times accused Trump of “planning to take executive overreach to dizzying new heights,” with severe, lasting consequences long after his administration is a “dank memory.”
This “fit of presidential pique ... constitutes a reordering of the power dynamic between the branches of government. Mr. Trump aims to usurp one of Congress’ most basic responsibilities, the power of the purse,” the Times warned.
Every legislator should be “bellowing in alarm,” particularly Republicans who complained endlessly about what they characterized as the “imperial presidency” of Barack Obama, the editorial argued.
The “poison cherry atop this sundae is that Mr. Trump is subverting American democracy for a cause opposed by a majority of the public,” the newspaper concluded.
The Washington Post bashed the new “imperial stage” of Trump’s presidency, and had plenty of vitriol left over for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has “perfected a trick: roll over and play dead.”
By “becoming a rubber stamp for Mr. Trump, Mr. McConnell has set a precedent: that he is prepared to accept any president who would treat the will of Congress, and the Constitution, with cavalier contempt.”
The Houston Chronicle branded Trump the real national emergency.
Trump may become the first president in history to use an emergency declaration to “undermine democracy — on our very own soil. If he employs the National Emergencies Act to get his wall, it would be to save face, not to save lives,” the newspaper warned.
Such an action would be a “clear abuse of power that should offend any patriotic, Constitution-loving American. He would be using a special power reserved for emergencies to settle a political score with Democrats, to usurp Congressional power and to just plain get his way,” the Chronicle charged.
The Chicago Tribune blasted Trump’s plan as an “act of petulance.”
Trump’s “obsession with building a physical wall isn’t justified by facts on the ground. This is his political preoccupation, not an existential crisis for the United States,” the newspaper noted. If his declaration survives court challenges, it will “undermine the Constitution,” the editorial warned.
USA Today ripped Trump’s plan as “destructive presidential overreach.”
Even The Wall Street Journal’s conservative editorial page noted that the border wall situation appears more accurately to be Trump’s “political emergency” rather than any real danger in the country.
The president’s planned declaration of a national emergency “looks to us like a misuse of the emergency power delegated by Congress, which is meant for genuine security crises — not to fulfill a campaign promise,” the newspaper noted.
The New Yorker took a shot at the do-nothing GOP with a headline on a piece by Susan B. Glasser: “The New Republican Strategy for Dealing With the Emergency That is Trump: Pray.”