Obama’s FEMA chief: Trump ‘blustering’ over border emergency

Obama’s FEMA chief: Trump ‘blustering’ over border emergency
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Craig Fugate, who led the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under former President Obama, on Thursday accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE exaggerating the border situation for political reasons.

"This is posturing, blustering,” Fugate told The Associated Press, referring to Trump's repeated claims that there is a "border crisis."

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Fugate was appointed during the Obama administration to deal with the issue of migrant children separated from their parents, the AP noted.

“And that was a crisis,” Fugate told the AP, saying it was an issue of caring for children.

“I’ve yet to see anything physically stop illegal immigration,” Fugate told the news service, adding that it would be more effective to give aid to the countries from which migrants are fleeing. 

Fugate's comments come as the White House continues to dig in over the president's demand for $5 billion in border wall funding.

Trump on Thursday offered his strongest indication yet that he may declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress to build a wall along the U.S-Mexico border. 

Trump told reporters that it would be "surprising to me" if he did not do so. 

Fugate said he is concerned that presidents yield more power than the judicial and legislative branches.

“What happens if they suspend the vote? What happens if they suspend the Congress?” Fugate said during his interview with the AP. “That’s what happens in countries where the executive branch is greater than the legislative and judiciary.”

"[Trump is saying], 'If I can’t get Congress to fund it, I’m going to use my authority to bypass Congress,'" Fugate said.

Some scholars and Democrats have raised doubts about whether Trump can declare a national emergency in this situation.

The government shutdown on Thursday hit its twentieth day as Trump and Democratic negotiators have been unable to come to a deal over the border wall. Democrats have said multiple times that they will not offer more than $1.3 billion for border security measures, including reinforcement of existing walls and fences.