Numerous contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination came out swinging Friday against President Trump’s controversial decision to declare a national emergency so he can move funds around for the construction of a wall on the southern border.
Trump officially declared a national emergency Friday morning in response to Congress’s refusal to approve the $5.7 billion he requested for construction of a wall on the southern border. Though it is likely to be tied up in lawsuits, the move would free up around $8 billion in federal money, including $3.6 billion in discretionary military funds, to build barriers at the border with Mexico.
“We should do something about the actual emergencies that plague our nation — like climate change or health care access — not playing politics in order to build a wasteful border wall,” Senator Kamala Harris of California wrote on Twitter.
“Let’s be clear on this: The only emergency at our border is the humanitarian one Trump created himself, by demonizing and ripping apart families,” New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in a tweet. “This manufactured crisis is racist, wasteful, and an outrageous abuse of power from someone too reckless and hateful to hold it.”
“Not getting what you want to fulfill a campaign promise/chant is not a national emergency,” Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said on Twitter. “Taking money from real needs and emergencies is what will create an actual emergency.”
“I may be the youngest one in the 2020 conversation, but I’m old enough to remember conservatives being skeptical about executive power grabs,” South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg wrote. “What will they do today?” he asked.
Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren condemned the decision Thursday, before it was officially declared.
“Trump’s inability to follow through on a campaign promise is not a national emergency,” Booker said. “Let’s not forget those still struggling to rebuild their lives after this administration failed to respond effectively to real emergencies in places like Puerto Rico.”
Warren agreed, saying the president’s “ridiculous wall” does not qualify as an emergency.
“Gun violence is an emergency. Climate change is an emergency. Our country’s opioid epidemic is an emergency,” the Massachusetts senator said.
Former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, meanwhile, accused Trump of launching a “constitutional crisis.”
“We no longer have 3 co-equal branches of government. The President, in taking money designated by Congress for other needs to build his senseless wall, has voided the voice of the people,” Castro wrote Friday on Twitter. “The real national emergency is the constitutional crisis the President just instigated.”