Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” House Armed Service Committee chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) said President Donald Trump does have the authority to declare a national emergency and have the military build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Host George Stephanopoulos asked, “Does President Trump have the ability, have the authority to declare a national emergency and have the military build his wall?”
Smith said, “Well, unfortunately, the short answer is yes. There is a provision in the law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times, but primarily it’s been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. In this case, I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, where is the emergency? You have to establish that in order to do this. Beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars.”
He added, “The president spends most of his time talking about how we’re not spending enough on national security, now he wants to take $20 billion out of defense budget to build a wall. Which by the way, is not going to improve our border security. The president seems unaware of this, but we have actually already built a wall across much of the border, and all border security experts that I talk to say, where a wall makes sense, it’s already been built. We should have a conversation about border security, but first, we should we open the government and pay our border patrol agents and the federal agents that are furloughed.”