Littwin: Breaking new ground, Trump declares a national emergency by conceding there is no national emergency

Donald Trump, April 2015. (Photo by Michael Vadon via Flickr:Creative Commons)

I know it seems early in the game, but the argument over whether there is a real national emergency on the southern border — hint: there isn’t — is already over.

Done. Finished. Finito.

Don’t take my word or the word of any number of experts. For once, and this is the real shocker, you can take Donald Trump’s word.

In a rare moment of Trumpian candor, Trump told the truth about his bogus emergency declaration — with the surprising reveal that there is no emergency at all. In telling the truth, he didn’t just undercut his declaration. He put a knife through the heart of it. He basically conceded that he was, uh, appropriating $7 billion that Congress had appropriated for other uses, much of it from the Pentagon. And he was doing this because Congress — a co-equal branch of government, which constitutionally controls the purse — had overwhelmingly voted that he couldn’t.

That’s the emergency in total. Congress wouldn’t give him his wall, and so, ignoring the Constitution and a bunch of other norms, he just decided to take the money and run. He said he expected to be sued. He said he expected Congress to try to stop him. None of it mattered to him in the least. It was just another day in Trumpworld, although with not quite as much executive time, but with the usual number of lies.

Here’s how it played out. Trump came to the Rose Garden to announce his emergency declaration. Generally when when you have an emergency to announce, you start with the actual emergency, particularly if it’s an emergency that could well lead to a constitutional crisis.

But, no. First Trump talked about China. Then about Great Britain. Then about North Korea. Then about the economy and then about Wall Street and then how “we have all the records.” He talked about everything but his latest physical.

Then, finally, eventually, he got around to the bogus emergency declaration. It’s like calling 911 and first discussing with the operator how your garden is doing, then the funny thing your kid said that morning, before, you know, reporting that your house is burning down.

I’ll just let Trump talk here, in his typical can-you-believe-I’m-the-freaking-president ramble, so you can get the full flavor: 

“We’re going to be signing today and registering national emergency. And it’s a great thing to do, because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable. And by signing the national emergency, something signed many times by other presidents, many, many times, President Obama, in fact, we may be using one of the national emergencies that he signed having to do with cartels, criminal cartels. It’s a very good emergency that he signed … And what we really want to do is simple. It’s not like it is complicated. It’s very simple. We want to stop drugs from coming into our country. We want to stop criminals and gangs from coming into our country. Nobody has done the job that we have ever done.”

And then we get to the money shot: “I can do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn’t need to do this. I would rather do it much faster.”

I didn’t need to do this. I would rather do it much faster.

Tell me, where do you see emergency there? The law, we’re told, is not entirely clear on this, but can you have an emergency when we’ve been arguing about the border for decades and when the number of people illegally crossing the border is at its lowest point in 40 years? More to the point, can you declare an emergency when there is no emergency and even if there were one, Trump’s wall would in no way resolve it?

The only emergency is that we have Trump as president. It’s an ongoing emergency. Let me tell you how desperate the situation is: I’m going to quote a tweet from Ann Coulter to describe it.

I really am. I hate to do it, but she’s got it right when she says “the goal of a national emergency for Trump is to scare the stupidest people in his base for two more years.”

She later tweeted that the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter was the 25th Amendment. This is Ann Coulter. Come on.

Trump already tried a record-breaking government shutdown, and when that failed, he went for a Constitution-breaking money grab. Any Republican who now votes to sustain this latest piece of Trump madness — and the votes are coming, as the Democratic House will surely vote to overrule Trump’s declaration and the Senate will, according to the rules of the National Emergencies Act of 1976, have to follow — has basically forfeited whatever legitimacy he or she has ever claimed. 

We can start with Mitch McConnell, who told Trump he would support his declaration if only Trump wouldn’t shut down the government again on McConnell’s watch. This is what you call a party-over-country move, which is the hallmark of McConnell’s sad tenure as majority leader.

Meanwhile Cory Gardner, who wants you to think he is upset by the Trump moves, says he is “reviewing” the matter, which is Cory-speak for “I just announced my support for this clown and now you’re asking me to say out loud that he’s an authoritarian, Constitution-defying head case.”

Noted presidential historian Douglas Brinkley stopped just short of calling Trump a head case. He prefers “wild-eyed imperial presidency.”

This is where we are. Trump declares a bogus emergency in order to raid the Pentagon to pay for an unneeded wall that he once promised Mexico would pay for. Congress could stop him, but would need to come up with a veto-proof vote to do it. In any case, the money for the wall will likely be tied up in court for months. Eventually the Supreme Court justices will probably get a chance to stop Trump. The fact that we have no idea whether they would says everything you need to say about the situation.

The situation is, of course, dire. Trump admits he didn’t need to do this, but at this point in his presidency, even his most devoted followers won’t believe him.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Two Scoops is the flaming sack of dog crap that your neighbor’s kids threw on your doorstep. He’s just that useful to this country. No matter how much you stomp on it trying to put it out, it gets all over your shoes and your porch. THANKS, COWARDLY AND OFFENSIVE REPUBLICANS! You put this THING in the office JUST to piss off the left, and it’s working. But it’s also DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY, YOU MORONS! What I can’t figure out is how ANYONE would look at the actions and listen to the words of this 5 year old in a fat, ugly, arrogant man’s body and say “well done!”. You people are INSANE! You must LIKE being the goddamn LAUGHING STOCK of the WORLD. YOU ARE!!!!

    If this stupid “emergency declaration” goes through, then the next democratic president should declare the fact that REPUBLICANS make STUPID AS HELL DECISIONS as a reason to declare an emergency and TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE! You’ve proven what STUPID MORONS you are, and how yo ucan’t make a decent political decision to save your own asses, you should NOT be allowed to sccrew up the country in a TEMPER TANTRUM! And let’s get real, the ONLY reason you wanted this mental deficient was to piss off those of us who CARE about the country FIRST. You clearly act and think like CHILDREN! SHAME ON YOU! And I would suggest that you MORONS GROW THE HELL UP! Use your brains for something OTHER than keeping the VACUUM in your skulls from imploding them! The term “NUMB SKULL” applies to each and every one of you who is STILL stupid enough to support an obvious LUNATIC CHILD MAN!

    IMPEACH THIS DOLT, then LOCK HIM UP! Good GOD, republicans. You ALL need help, and LOTS of it.

    • Will Morrison,
      I don’t know who you are, but you do not speak for me, or my military peers. Too many of them that I worked with are now deceased, and whole heap of folks moved to Colorado, for the drugs, and because Denver area and State is Sanctuary cities and states, and has been since Gov. Bill Owens reached term limits. And we have seen the high tax folks move here, for benefits, jobs, and our los tax rates, until 2009. Now to the man you do not know, and are too cheap to buy some books and find out who and what he is. He did not spend all that big money from donors (whose candidates failed miserably in debates, and were shown how STATUS QUO they were. Donald Trump made his fortune honestly, with accountants, lawyers, and being audited every year by IRS. Do you not trust that if there was anything shady, or as stated by too many, that Lois Lerner would not have leaked his IRS records before she was questioned, and resigned, pleading 5th Amendment? And all the others in IRS who fed information to the Democrats? REALLY, are you that naïve? Obama and Hilary knew there was nothing there, but knew you and others like you would believe them. You wanted to, so you believed. Shame on you.
      ——–If Congress had done its work years ago, as they stated, immigration would have been cleaned up and never got so out of control. Every administration has talked of border security, more agents at the border, more judges to hear cases, and only merit immigration. But that is political talk. Talk, Talk, Talk, and don’t do anything. Democrats know where to spend our State money, more efficiently, and ensure it goes into their pockets. That is why Donald said “I did not have to declare Emergency”. Because Congress cannot doe anything anymore, he had to. And if you watched ‘MEET THE PRESS TODAY” you learned why.
      ——-Congress gave presidents right to declare Emergencies 1976to 1979. 58 have been declared, 31 are still on books, in register, and acted on. And if Donald was doing the same thing, in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Iran, Russia, or other overseas, you and Democrats would not say a word. We have over 3,000 troops on southern border, building wall, fences, barriers and are in danger from the drug cartels, gangs, criminals coming to the border from south, to enter our country. They have been attacked, and need protection, so they can do their job. I have been to the border over the years, and do not go there, any more. I still have relatives and friends there, but I cannot go visit them. I did 26 years in military, plus worked every years since I was age 13, even working part time during my military years, to proved for my family. Now 89, wife 83, we highly resent having paid for our children to be educated in Colorado and elsewhere, while all these folks in Colorado now, who cannot speak English, are not paying extra, and are over loading our schools, high drop outs, crimes, drugs, and all with in the school system halls. My grandson received death threats as freshman at Aurora Central HS in 1st semester, and home schooled himself through computer 2nd and after. Central HS was a loser when my youngest son attended there in 1964-65, and he is not 60 years of age, this month. So Will, you have your opinion, but you are dead wrong. AND NOTE I DID NOT CALL YOU ANY NAMES, OR CHALLENGE YOUR MENTAL FACUALTIES. Take a hint for that, if nothing else.

      • ” Donald Trump made his fortune honestly “. Really ? I find it sad that with all the information and research that is available to us, that someone would believe that. I have seen this in many Trump supporters, some who are even friends of mine; they believe what they want to believe and can’t be bothered with facts, because they don’t matter – any amount of factual information isn’t going to change their minds…

        • It’s what is known as a self-reinforcing delusion.

          Very common in politics, economics and religion.

          See Trump “successes”, trickle down economics and evangelicalism….

        • I think you need to spend a few bucks and stop by Sam’s club. Can buy books, but will have to contact Barnes and noble for DVDs, or CDs,. Now you can do it more reasonably, if you have a computer. Do simple search (if you know how) for U-tube videos- Donald trump. Was still on net last time I looked, starting in 1980 when he was interviewed by TV hosts of Republican and Democratic pursusion, and at that time and right up to present, was asked if he would ever switch from business, and go into politics. And you will find his thoughts then, and all through are the same as he campaigned on, and 63 million of us, know what he is talking about. Now you can continue to watch CNN or MSNBC, if you want to, but please don’t confuse me, with those. I did the research for my commanders, and was the Go to Guy, in Commanders Calls for many years. I served 26 years, from private through senior NCO grade, and managed programs, including Satellite Communications 1970 to 1976. Or you and I would still be using manual or electric typewriters, and depending on snail mail for communications. You can make phone call around the world now, due to efforts of me and my peers, thin those years. And after retiring from Air Force, I was involved with Federal and State Politicians, all the years they served, and on first name basis with Gov. Bill Owens, when we met. So at 89 years of age, I have seen and dealt with doubter like you before, all my life. Those who know my job better than I do, as we see from Washington DC now.

        • See my reply to Jay, but is meant for both of you. If you doubt my experience, do a quick check of my user name, and find I have been around the block, and done a lot of things. And I can document my background. Have taught foreign and domestic military, in Electronics, and Avionics, Been Supply Officer, Administrative, Personnel, and SATCOM systems at DCA level, controlling military communications in Pacific, and matching up the planet, to Wide World Command and Control Systems (1972-1974), installing TACSATCOM terminal for Presidential Support 1974-75 in Hawaii. So do some research on Donald Trump. He always had lawyers, accountants, and he won more lawsuits, then was won against him. Too many losers write articles for NYT, and WP. Also WSJ. You do know that BEZO owns WP as well as Amazon.Com. So keep on believing they give honest reporting, if you want to.

          • Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

            Nice try.

        • Jay,
          You should read my reply to Will Morrison. Yes, since you picked on a sentence from my comment. Then you know, if you had studied him, he had lawyers, accountants, and other office personnel involved, and IRS audited him each year, just as they audit IRS employees to ensure they present honest reports. —- If there had been something in his reports that was shaky, or illegal, DON’T YOU THINK THAT LOIS LERNER WOULD HAVE LEAKED THOSE RECORDS, WHILE SHE LEAKED ALL THE OTHERS? Are you working with same thinking or brain, that Littwin and Will Morrison is using? Don’t you think if he had been dishonest, or shady, more of those lawsuits would have gone against him, his company, and his corporation. Do you really think he went from being a Millionaire, to a Billionaire, with all the publicity he has had over the years, It would have been known? Not just what others whisper through doors, or over the phone. Honest, reporting and auditing, by the proper people , who keep auditing and checking , very private, when no crime has been committed. Think about it, then do some research on your own, instead of MSM , which is owned by 8 large corporations, owned by those who made their money from managing Fringe accounts, through Wall Street. Just saying.

      • Frank2525: You lost me the INSTANT you said that Two Scoops got his fortune honestly. HORSE PUCKEY! He’s a damn CROOK! He’s KNOWN in NYC for NOT paying his bills, to the point where contractors have to take him to court, and have over 4,000 times. THIS is honest? There isn’t a single US bank that will even TALK to him, anymore, because he keeps leaving them with the bills and walking away. Bankrupt 4 times, to the point where ONLY Deutchebank and the Russians will loan him a PENNY! This is NOT honest dealing. This is a CROOK. That you think SUCH a dishonorable schmuck is worthy of ANYONE’S trust or admiration does NOT say good things about YOU.

        I’m sorry you are SO easily fooled that you think this is a good, decent man ON ANY level. He’s NOT. And he’s NOT a good businessman, not at all. He’s down to the point where his name is the ONLY thing he can still sell, and that has fallen off in it’s appeal to others too. He can’t even put his name on other people’s projects and expect anything but further bankruptcy. He’s TOXIC, at this point.

        I’m sorry you fell for this con man, but don’t go yelling at me because YOU are a poor judge of character. You will NOT be convincing me of ANYTHING where this POS is concerned, I’ve been watching his egotistical dealings for DECADES, and never once was I impressed by anything he said or did. HE’S SCUM! He spied on UNDERAGE young women in the beauty pagent he used to own. He’s openly said he wants to date his own daughter. He’s a damn RUSSIAN STOOGE, for the love of God. THIS is who you think is such a great guy?

        You’re a TERRIBLE judge of character, and that’s NOT my fault. Don’t yell at ME for your own shortcomings.

        • Read it again Will, And also see my reply just now to Jay. He is working with same number of brain cells you are, and both of you need to do your own study or research. Then rethink.
          ——Have a friend here in Aurora, who sat beside me and told me how Donald Trump skinned him. I listened to him, knowing he had been a contractor, after military service. So before nest meeting, I did the study in Denver. Donald had a lien on Theatre on Colfax, and also lien on property across Colfax, and possible permit, if he bought both, he could build a walkway over Colfax, connecting the two buildings. BUT CITY OF DENVER RENEGED ON DEAL AT KEY POINT, AND CANCELLED ALL TALK OR CONSIDERATION. And I still do not see that Theatre remodeled, or changed to other use. Of course I have not been down Colfax now in 3 years, since I do not go into Denver any more. Not since the Occupiers and Demonstrators have free range, and dog feces litter the by streets, mixed with lot of human feces. But I handed “Jim” copy of what I found, and Donald Trump had never been in Denver for such purposes, and all that had been done by lawyers, and their agencies. And “Jim” had talked to some of the potential builders, who would be submitting plans, IF THE PLAN HAD GONE THROUGH. SO MUCH FOR ALL YOURS AND OTHERS, TALK OF DONALD AND HIS PRACTICES. If you are going to post, you really should know what and why?

  2. Anyone who has read a transcript of the president’s remarks must take pause. There is no sentence “there”. There is no continuity of thought. No reasoned statement is presented. In fact, Trump eventually admits that he’s on shaky legal ground with respect to his declared “emergency”, a self-contradiction that is both an unfortunate and a worrisome reality in many of his interviews and tweets covering a myriad of issues.

    That’s what we should — in my opinion — be focusing on. All partisan demogoging aside, we should be concerned — as members of both political parties — that we are governed by a president who never had a grasp of constitutional government, who is unwittingly ignorant of US history, who feeds on ethnic, racial and gender denegration and actually doesn’t care about much except feeding his sense of inflated ego.

    In the long term, sensible citizens have recourse through the ballot. Currently, we must flood our senators and representatives with letters, emails etc. They’re up for re-election…a persuasive motive to actively recover their power of the purse (in this instance).

    • Sue, You need to remember Presidents have speech writers. So criticize the speech writer. Donald does not need a transcript, but can speak very coherently to 63 million of us, who voted for him. He does not expect to change any ones mind , who is a NASTY woman (self proclaimed), or who is wired to find fault, and believe lies. So pick your own box, where you fit.

  3. This life, which had been the tomb of his virtue and of his honour, is but a walking shadow; a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • Reads like our politicians in Colorado now. They used to be chherent, and make statements you could take to the bank. But that was then, and now, is now. Who do you trust, and betters question, WHY?

  4. Sen. McConnell apparently promised to support a National Emergency declaration in order to get a promise he could announce that Trump would sign the budget compromise and avoid a shutdown. He did so knowing there is no emergency at the border, that Trump will be able to do little to change the border, and that granting Trump power is a horrible precedent for future Presidents (of any party).

    In a sane world, Senators would see such a move as a step too far and enough of them would gather together to remove McConnell as the Majority Leader. Four or five, working together, could hammer out a deal with the Democrats and find a “caretaker” for the Majority Leader’s office. But we are in the current partisan world, where much will be said before the inevitable vote failing to overturn a veto, which will allow the *resident his emergency and whatever he can do with it until the courts block him.

  5. Stephan Miller (WH Advisor) gave Chris Wallace a lesson today in why President Donald Trump declared National Emergency Alert, and why this is same law or authorization for building walls, fences, barriers, for USA Troops in foreign areas, where they are in danger. And no one complained for building there, but now are upset, angry, and suing, when he does it to protect over 3,000 USA Military, serving on the border, building fences, walls, barriers, slats, or any other name that Democrats love to quibble over. They need to refer to most any dictionary, for definitions of what constitutes WALLs. Shows too many did not get enough schooling, or perhaps are drop outs, and never learned to use Dictionary. I wouldn’t know, but I did return to higher education, after military service. Needed to gain eye candy (diplomas or certificates) for stuff I knew, but had no documentation. I entered service in 1950 as HS graduate. Left service in 1976 with 124 College Credit Hours in courses I had taken, learned, and had taught others, signing diplomas and certificates for my students, which was honored.

  6. “While Democrats like to mock the overflowing Republican clown car presidential field, Democrats don’t have enough legitimate presidential candidates to fill a Mini.

    Joe Biden is not just too old. He’s Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren is not running, and, as appealing as she might be to liberals, she wouldn’t win if she did run. Bernie Sanders? At this point, he’s not even a Democrat.” – Mike Littwin March, 2015

    “Bernie (Sanders) is the most benign of summer flings. He’s part Gene McCarthy, part Howard Dean, but mostly part Jefferson Smith (do the Google if you don’t get the reference). Of Bernie’s many parts, only Jefferson Smith wins in the end, and that was in a movie..” – Mike Littwin July, 2015

    “Certainly no (2020 Democrat presidential) candidate is going to say on the record what one almost-candidate, Michael Avenatti, said last year—that to have the best chance of beating President Donald Trump, the Democratic nominee “better be a white male.” “- Politico.com February, 2019

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Happy Presidents Day!

    “….but (Ann Coulter) got it right when she says “the goal of a national emergency for (President) Trump is to scare the stupidest people in his base for two more years.”

    On those exceedingly rare occasions when Mr. Littwin agrees with Ann Coulter you can be sure it requires a little context. OK, it requires a lot of context that for some strange, unexplained reason Mr. Littwin has failed to provide.

    While Ann Coulter and Mr. Littwin are both upset at our president they’re angry for completely different reasons: Mr. Littwin is upset because our president wants to build a wall on our southern border and Ann Coulter, on the other hand, is upset because our president has failed to build a wall on our southern border.

    Here’s why Ann Coulter believes a wall is necessary:
    “The wall is the compassionate solution, The people who don’t want a wall are absolutely selfish, they are in it for themselves. They are in it for the cheap labor; they are in it for the votes.”
    “I would also go to all of the working class that are in America, construction workers in particular. Their salaries have not just stagnated, they have gone down in the last 20 years. These are the least among us. We are the only ones not speaking out of self-interest.
    Most of the people who are advocating for open borders … they have a vested in interest in having either the cheap labor or the Democratic voters. Their neighborhoods aren’t the ones being overwhelmed. They get the cheap maids, the cheap nannies, and then they strut around like they’re Martin Luther King.
    No, you are talking in your self-interest, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer. It’s Donald Trump and our side who are actually caring about our fellow Americans — the kids who are getting addicted to black tar heroin.”

    And did Senator Gardner actually say “I just announced my support for this clown and now you’re asking me to say out loud that he’s an authoritarian, Constitution-defying head case.”? Or is Mr. Littwin free to manufacture quotes?

    Fake quotes? What’s next, fake news? Oh, wait…

    “Politicians say more taxes will solve everything
    And the band played on” – Temptations

    “Let me tell you how it will be
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
    And you’re working for no one but me” – Beatles

    “Tax the rich, feed the poor
    ‘Til there are no rich no more?” – Ten Years After

    Laquan McDonald/Rahm Emanuel
    Jussie Smollett
    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam
    Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax
    Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring

  7. To all of the above, look up the NY Times’ ( yeah, that liberal commie paper)lengthy and comprehensively researched article about Trump family finances and the shady but marginally legal deals they used to transfer money that an honest bunch would have used to pay taxes to themselves. It was in a couple of months ago. Tough read, Frank, so you might not get through it, but if you do you will never say The Donald is an ” ” “honest” man again. Plus just about every expert has said drugs are not coming across the Southern border but by air and through the ports. It is wise to vary one’s sources of ,information before one spouts off.

  8. I disagree with all who say there is not a NATIONAL EMERGENCY ALONG OUR BORDER. When almost a million have approached the border in Caravans this Fiscal Year (Oct, Nov, Dec. Jan 2019) , which is almost as many as whole year of 2018 (all 12 months), and over 20% of those caravans are criminals, drug cartel, MS-1`3, Sex Molestors, Child Sex Trade enablers with small children not their own, and they are not only smuggling people, guns, drugs, and drug cartels control Mexico, which is the gateway country, for all who come from around the world, THAT IS AN EMERGENCY. And now consider who is buying and selling , and using all of that in our cities, states, and entire USA, including those who go onto Canada. Why the illegal immigration? We have consulate and embassy in other countries, fully staffed, so why come to our border, where they overrun the facilities, cause problems, and attack our military,, across the border. YES there is Emergency, but did not have to be, IF CONGRESS HAD DONE ITS JOB, AS THEY KEPT SAYING , FOR OVER 70 YEARS, Every Administration. And they are on audio, photographic Video, and statements in Historical Records in Washington DC.

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