Trump’s emergency declaration doesn’t show his power. It shows his weakness.

26 Feb

From the moment he announced his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump has provoked concerns of an authoritarian turn in American politics. The president’s declaration Friday of a national emergency so he can order construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would seem to confirm the suspicions of his most ardent critics that Trump’s uniquely authoritarian brand of politics threatens the very fabric of constitutional governance.

Even as presidential power has grown exponentially in recent decades, the power of the purse has remained firmly in Congress’s hands. So if Trump can simply invent an “emergency” and thereby spend money unauthorized by Congress — indeed, spend money in the teeth of repeated congressional refusals to authorize funds for the precise thing Trump is declaring the emergency to accomplish — then we must be witnessing the death knell of American checks and balances, right?

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Posted by on February 26, 2019 in North America



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