Here’s how Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts delegation reacted to Trump’s national emergency for a border wall

"The governor believes that President Trump and Congress should put partisan politics aside."

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during an event Friday at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border. – Evan Vucci / AP

Gov. Charlie Baker is in alignment with the Massachusetts congressional delegation when it comes President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to siphon federal funding for the construction of his long-promised wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico — though he isn’t putting the blame solely on the president.

“The governor believes that President Trump and Congress should put partisan politics aside and work together on comprehensive immigration reform to secure the nation’s borders through the legislative process,” Brendan Moss, a spokesman for Baker, told in a statement Friday.

During the recent government shutdown, the Republican governor told reporters that border security is “a really big deal” and has expressed worries about the impact of another shutdown.


“I think it’d be really great for some of those folks in Washington to have a chance to see some of the regular people that depend on them to do their job for them to be able to do their job,” he said earlier this week.

The state’s all-Democratic delegation in Washington, D.C., has been more forceful — and, well, partisan — in their reaction to Trump’s unprecedented use of executive powers.

Republican Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell’s announcement Thursday that Trump would sign the compromise government funding bill and then declare a national emergency to fund the construction of his proposed border wall drew swift condemnation from the state’s 2020 declared and potential presidential candidates.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren also introduced legislation with a handful of Democratic colleagues to bar Trump from using funds appropriated for the hurricane recovery efforts for the wall construction.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III said the real emergency was the migrant detention centers being used at the border.

Several members also quoted Trump’s words from 2014, when he outspokenly protested President Barack Obama’s use of executive power to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to shield some undocumented immigrants from deportation.


Sen. Ed Markey said that declarations of national emergencies are for “true national emergencies” and that Trump was usurping congressional authority to appropriate taxpayer money.

Rep. Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, promised a battle in the courts.

Following Trump’s official declaration Friday morning, Rep. Katherine Clark called his national emergency a “sham” that fails to address the real humanitarian crisis at the border.

There is no national security emergency at our southern border. The crisis we face is a humanitarian one that will not be solved by a wall, but with thoughtful, comprehensive immigration reform.

Trump’s wall has never been about national security. It is a political applause line he uses to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment. That is why the House, the Senate, and the American people rejected the President’s wall funding. Instead of accepting that reality, he is threatening an unconstitutional power grab by taking money Congress has granted to other military projects to fund his wall. While his moral authority has always been in question, he is now undermining the legal authority of the Office of the President and violating Article 1 of the Constitution.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans came together to fund a spending bill that while imperfect, was a compromise and prevented another government shutdown. Now we must stand together again to stop the President’s unconstitutional actions and prevent him from undermining our rule of law.

Rep. Lori Trahan said Trump was headed down an “unprecedented and reckless path.”

I am strongly opposed to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, and will work with my colleagues from both parties to provide a check on what is a clear abuse of power. Under the Constitution, Article I states that it is the responsibility of Congress to fund the government. No president, the current one included, has the right to undermine that authority by declaring a fake national emergency just because they didn’t get their way. Let me be very clear: the Administration is seeking to divert billions of dollars from approved and ongoing military construction projects that are necessary to keep our nation safe and secure in order to spend it on an ineffective, wasteful wall. The President is heading down an unprecedented and reckless path.  Now more than ever, Congress must lead on important issues like immigration reform, asylum, and border security.

Echoing McGovern, several Bay State delegation members said blasted the declaration as unconstitutional and predicted it would be challenged in court. While national emergency declarations are rarely fought in court, Democrats are planning to use a 67-year-old legal precedent in an attempt to block Trump’s order. However, the president himself expressed confidence Friday that “we will be very successful in court.”

“While his moral authority has always been in question, he is now violating Article 1 of the Constitution,” Clark wrote on Twitter.


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