Members of the conservative small-government, anti-tax Freedom Caucus are having second thoughts about Donald Trump’s suggestion that he may declare a national state of emergency to get his border wall built — fearing it could blow up in Republican faces.
According to a report in Politico, “Multiple Republicans in the conservative group have privately raised their concerns with the Trump administration, fearing it would lead to a years-long legal standoff that Democrats could win while setting a dangerous precedent for the presidency.”
While some Freedom Caucus stalwarts, including Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC), say the national emergency declaration may be inevitable, others are less sanguine about Trump making a leap that may hurt Republicans in the long run.
“[Trump] has more options on the table than what I have read about,” explained Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), who added, “We shared some of those ideas.”
Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho said in a Freedom Caucus meeting last week that he is not happy with the idea at all.
“To call it an outright emergency, I told them, I don’t agree with that, but it’s a crisis that needs to be dealt with. That was my opinion,” he said before warning, “Once you do that, it’s all or nothing.”
“I believe the president does have the legal authority — if you read the statute — I also think it would be a poor use of that authority,” chimed in Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ).
Meadows, for his part, was cautious in an interview with Politico on Thursday.
“I do see the potential for national emergencies being used for every single thing that we face in the future where we can’t reach an agreement. That’s the slippery slope that I’m concerned about,” he explained, later suggesting, via tweet, “POTUS should use asset forfeiture money or other discretionary fees to start construction.”
He did leave the door cracked for accepting a possible Trump emergency declaration, saying, “I think the president would find broad support if it’s determined that ultimately he has to do it.”
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