Trump’s National Emergency Is Off to a Bad Start

People protest against Trump’s national emergency declaration over the weekend. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Four days after President Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, there are already a handful lawsuits challenging it, polls showing that people hate it, and protests with thousands of people opposing it.

The splashiest of the legal challenges, but not the first, came Monday when 16 states filed suit to block the national emergency. Public Citizen and CREW, two advocacy groups, filed suit immediately after Trump’s announcement Friday. Over the weekend, the ACLU and other groups announced legal challenges of their own.

Led by California attorney general Xavier Becerra, the lawsuit from the states argues that Trump engaged in a “unlawful scheme” by using “the pretext of a manufactured ‘crisis’ of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency,” according to the complaint, which was obtained by Politico.

“We’re going to try to halt the president from violating the Constitution, the separation of powers, from stealing money from Americans and states that has been allocated by Congress, lawfully,” Becerra said on CNN Monday.

The complaint accuses Trump of veering “the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making” by bypassing Congress to find funds for the wall, which the complaint refers to as a “vanity project.” It also cites Trump’s claim, made in Friday’s press conference, that he “didn’t need to do this,” as evidence there’s not emergency at the border at all. New Mexico is the only border state joining California in the suit, which also includes New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. All but one of the states — Maryland — has a Democratic governor.

Trump responded to the challenge, which was filed in his most-hated Ninth Circuit, on Twitter Tuesday.

Along with the legal arguments, the complaint mentions the millions of dollars states would lose if money is pulled from military construction budgets and sent to the the border. That’s already becoming an issue in the states that could be forced to give up money for the wall.

Florida could lose up to $177 million, more than $100 million is at risk in Colorado, and Kentucky projects under threat include the construction of Fort Campbell Middle School. Asked over the weekend about taking money meant to build the school and giving it to the border wall, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham said, “It’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border. We’ll get them the school they need, but right now we’ve got a national emergency on our hands.”

Four days after Trump’s declaration, though, a new poll shows that American voters aren’t buying what Trump and Graham are selling. A new NPR/PBS/Marist College poll, which was conducted from Friday to Sunday, shows that 61 percent of registered voters say they disapprove of the Trump’s emergency declaration, while only 36 percent approve. A HuffPost/YouGov survey from over the weekend shows similar approval numbers (35 percent) with a smaller number of Americans disapproving (55 percent).

Thousands of those who disapprove of the declaration took part in protests around the nation over the weekend. They gathered in D.C., Atlanta, and in the snow in Ferndale, Michigan.

Trump’s National Emergency Is Off to a Bad Start