It is fast becoming wingnut dogma that the President of the United States should hock a loogie on the Constitution to get a win on The Wall. Quite simply, there is no "national emergency" at the border. There is a humanitarian crisis that Trump administration policies have exacerbated, but there is no "invasion." Donald Trump, American president, admitted this Wednesday when he said his threshold for declaring an emergency was if he couldn't make a deal with Democrats to get Wall funding. If there's actually a national emergency going on, surely there's no time to wait! It almost sounds like declaring an emergency has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, that the emergency is Trump might lose in these negotiations, and that this is merely a threat from the president in order to get some leverage in those negotiations because he currently has none.
Of course, his genius-brain disciples are fully on board with the United States president abusing the powers vested in him to get a Win with The Base. Fabricating an emergency to seize funds not appropriated by Congress-a clear violation of the Constitution's separation of powers-is a lawless and nakedly authoritarian act. Yet Lindsey Graham, a man who used to call Trump a "kook" who was "unfit for office," now thinks he should seize extraordinary executive powers under false pretenses. What happened to that guy?
And then there's Lou Dobbs, the Benjamin Button stunt-double who hosts a show on the Fox Business Network. Dobbs has decided to embrace the rhetoric and methods of full-on authoritarianism.
Just sweep aside democracy while you're at it, Lou.
Remember: the president shut down the government single-handedly. Senate Republicans passed a bill to keep government open in December, and Paul Ryan was ready to get it through the then-Republican House. But it didn't include Wall funding, and Rush Limbaugh started saying mean things about Trump on the television, so our president went nuclear and refused to sign anything without funding for the Big, Beautiful Middle Finger From White America Monument. Since Democrats took control of the House, they passed a bill similar to the Senate Republican bill. Mitch McConnell refuses to put a bill his caucus essentially already passed up for another vote, because that would put Trump in the position of having to veto a bill to reopen the government-thus illustrating the simple reality that it is the president who is holding the government hostage.
So who is being "recalcitrant" here? The Democrats who've passed a funding bill to reopen government largely along the lines both parties agreed to before the president threw a hissy-fit? Or the president? This is just one dimension of an extensive gaslighting routine which includes Republicans suggesting it's Democrats who are fixated on the concept of The Wall-not the guy who's been yelling for three years about a 30-foot concrete wall that Mexico is going to pay for. Oh, and don't forget that Trump's party held control of both houses of Congress and the White House for two years and did not build The Wall. He rejected $25 billion in Wall funding last year because the deal gave Dreamers a path to citizenship. Even the Big, Beautiful Middle Finger Monument wasn't worth giving kids who are American in every way but on paper the full rights of citizenship.
That dimension of Trumpism's essential appeal rung true in another way this week-and not just in the words of a Trump Supporter Scorned in the New York Times, who complained Trump is "not hurting the people he needs to be hurting." Gee, I wonder what Those People look like. The cruelty, as The Atlantic's Adam Serwer put it, is the point. It's only truly a Win if people of a Certain Complexion lose. Which brings us, via NBC News, to another Trumpian scheme to get himself money for The Wall.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on a plan that would use the Army Corps of Engineers and a portion of $13.9 billion of Army Corps funding to build 315 miles of barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border...The money was set aside to fund projects all over the country including storm-damaged areas of Puerto Rico through fiscal year 2020, but the checks have not been written yet and, under an emergency declaration, the president could take the money from these civil works projects and use it to build the border wall...
Under the proposal, the officials said, Trump could dip into the $2.4 billion allocated to projects in California, including flood prevention and protection projects along the Yuba River Basin and the Folsom Dam, as well as the $2.5 billion set aside for reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
This, right here, is the whole ballgame. It's not enough to fabricate an emergency at the border. It's not even enough to pilfer money earmarked to respond to actual emergencies that happened out in reality to respond to your made-up emergency. It has to be money that might've helped Those People. This is what the New York Times' Jamelle Bouie this week called "welfare chauvinism"-a method to redistribute resources in a way that enforces racial hierarchies. This is the same impulse that made Mexico Is Gonna Pay For It such an applause line at rallies. It's not enough to build it and keep Them out. We're going to make Them pay for The Giant Middle Finger Monument, so we take some of what's Theirs while we give Them the finger.
This ultimate showdown over The Wall touches on every undercurrent and spastic impulse of Trumpism: the utter disregard for reality, the hostility towards democracy, the lying, the toadying from political allies and media hacks, the chauvinism, the cruelty, the vindictiveness, the resentment, the racism. Ultimately, it may prove a monumental test for the American republic. They will not stop, so the rest of us will need to make sure we're not "swept aside" in the process. Happy Friday.