Following Friday’s announcement of a national emergency by President Trump to secure additional funding for a border wall, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace compared this situation to previous national emergencies and suggested Trump’s situation does not constitute a “real” national emergency.
Asked by fellow Fox News anchor Shepard Smith about the bipartisan criticism of how, with an emergency declaration, Trump is circumventing Congress on funding matters, Wallace acknowledged that this could set a precedent for future presidents.
The Fox News Sunday host added that there have been at least 30 previous national emergencies declared under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, but that they were all on “very different matters.”
“They're on real national emergencies, things like freezing the funding, the assets in this country of terrorists,” Wallace explained. “It’s a very different thing when you’ve had a debate for years, as we have, over funding a wall and Congress has decided not to give that funding to the president for him then to say I'm going to declare a national emergency and take that funding anyway. I don’t think there’s been an emergency like that.”
Later on, Smith noted reports that Trump’s closest aides advised against declaring a national emergency because there were other funds he could get for the wall outside the spending bill, yet the president still decided to go that route. Wallace referenced additional reporting, stating the president was upset over constraints within the bill but also concerned about the “political heat” he was taking for signing it.
Wallace concluded that a “cynic” might say that even if the national emergency is stopped by the courts, Trump can go to his base and boast “I did everything I could” to get money for the wall.
Earlier in the day, Wallace was even more critical of the declaration, noting a statistical drop in migration across the southern border over the years while sarcastically asking: “So what national emergency?” He added that the president will likely point to an increase of migration from Central America when making his case for an emergency.
The president, meanwhile, may have already put his national emergency declaration in legal peril with his own flippant remarks. Speaking to reporters after his Friday announcement, the president said: “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.” Top Democrats soon seized on Trump’s remarks, claiming he admitted that there is no real emergency.