Donald Trump's impending national emergency declaration is going to make him look even more deranged than usual, one Washington Post columnist mused Thursday.
"Trump seemed inclined to sign" the bipartisan government funding bill that offered a lower amount for the wall, Post Plum Line blogger Greg Sargent wrote Thursday. The president at one point "even suggested he’d just keep on saying the wall was getting built and that he was winning."
"But then right-wing media called him weak," Sargent added, "and Trump apparently realized he could no longer paper over his humiliating loss with lies."
"Trump plainly believes declaring a national emergency will make him look like he’s acting decisively and taking control of events in the eyes of his base," the columnist noted. "But peel back the layers, and it’s clear that he’ll still face many obstacles."
Legal challenges to the declaration are certain to arise, Sargent noted, and "the mere fact that Trump has delayed so long will undermine his legal argument, because it undercuts the notion that there actually is an emergency (which there isn’t)."
The president's hesitation “belies his claim that there is an emergency at the border,” The Atlantic's Elizabeth Goetein wrote in January of the then-hypothetical scenario. “Presidents don’t dawdle in the face of real emergencies.”
The more Congress “votes against providing the funding the president has asked for,” Goetin added, “the clearer it becomes that an emergency declaration in this case would be designed as an end run around the Constitution.”
As "the walls of accountability" close in around Trump via special counsel Robert Mueller and the House's Democratic majority investigating his finances and ties to Russia, the president believes he needs the wall "more than ever to keep his base energized behind him as the going gets tougher," Sargent wrote.
"Yet the reality that he won’t realize his wall is becoming too overwhelmingly obvious to make disappear in his usual fog of bluster and lies," the columnist concluded. "And as Trump’s misconduct mounts, this time in service of the wall that will never happen, it will only make the wheels of accountability turn faster and the reckoning grow nearer."