ICYMI: Seacoast Online: Editorial: Phony Emergency Creates Some Very Real Problems
Concord, N.H. - Yesterday, the Seacoast Online Editorial Board resoundingly condemned President Trump's national emergency declaration in an editorial outlining why Trump's actions constitute a broad overreach of executive power for purely political purposes. While New Hampshire's federal delegation has opposed this declaration that could divert funding away from New Hampshire projects like the New Hampshire National Guard and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for a border wall, Governor Sununu has sided with Trump. After previously saying he "absolutely" supports the border wall, Sununu recently stated: "I support the president taking action" in regards to the national emergency. Read the editorial below. Seacoast Online: Editorial: Phony Emergency Creates Some Very Real Problems Our politically diverse editorial board is unanimous in its rejection of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border. The emergency is based in politics, not national security. The president is exceeding his constitutional authority by spending money Congress deliberately voted not to spend; he is setting a dangerous precedent that could be abused by future presidents and his actions jeopardize vital national defense initiatives including $223 million in essential construction projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. We applaud the nearly 60 former senior national and homeland security officials from both parties who released a statement Tuesday that concluded: “In our professional opinion, there is no factual basis for the declaration of national emergency for the purpose of circumventing the appropriations process and reprogramming billions of dollars in funding to construct a wall at the southern border...” These national security officials note the Trump administration’s own data shows that there is no emergency at the southern border. Illegal crossings and crime at the southern border are near a 40-year low; the administration’s most recent report on terrorism found that “there was no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.” They note the real danger to our national security is diverting money deemed essential by Congress and the Department of Defense to pay for an ineffective wall. “In the face of a nonexistent threat, redirecting funds for the construction of a wall along the southern border will undermine national security by needlessly pulling resources from Department of Defense programs that are responsible for keeping our troops and our country safe and running effectively,” they wrote. The Maine and New Hampshire congressional delegations have come out strongly against the emergency declaration, in part because it jeopardizes shipyard funding, but even more significantly, because it tramples Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives the power of the purse to Congress. On Tuesday, 25 former GOP lawmakers, including former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire, warned current Republican lawmakers: “If you allow a president to ignore Congress, it will be not your authority but that of your constituents that is deprived of the protections of true representative government.” U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen noted that $223 million could be diverted from submarine maintenance and repair upgrades planned at the shipyard. “I am exploring every option to protect Shipyard and National Guard resources,” Shaheen said... Republican members of our editorial board noted that they had consistently criticized President Barack Obama for what they considered executive overreach and it would be inconsistent to then turn a blind eye to a Republican president’s overreach. Their views reflected those of Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, who has indicated he will join Democrats on Tuesday in a vote of disapproval of the national emergency declaration, tweeting: “The same congressional Republicans who joined me in blasting Pres. Obama’s executive overreach now cry out for a king to usurp legislative powers. If your faithfulness to the Constitution depends on which party controls the White House, then you are not faithful to it.” In their letter the 25 former GOP lawmakers asked those from their party: “What will you do when a president of another party uses the precedent you are establishing to impose policies to which you are unalterably opposed?” We thank the Maine and New Hampshire congressional delegations for speaking truth to power and opposing the president’s destructive, phony, national emergency. We hope others in Congress will follow their lead.