Republican senators who voted against Trump have no excuses

Republican senators who voted against Trump have no excuses
© Greg Nash

The 12 Republican senators who voted quite meaninglessly last week to prevent construction of the border wall accomplished nothing other than proving that they, like the Democrats, do not actually want to secure the southern border. The vote does nothing to end the national emergency declaration by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE, just as it does nothing to address the undeniable crisis on our southern border that made it necessary. The president simply vetoed the bill as everyone had expected he would.

The national emergency remains in effect, and the wall is still being built. So why would these 12 Republicans publicly break with the president and sign on to the resolution from Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Moulton enters 2020 White House race Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment MORE, despite professing to support border security? The senators responsible for this toothless political stunt have tried to frame their actions as an attempt to rein in executive power and respect the Constitution, but a closer look reveals that is nonsense.

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Congress delegated the power to declare a national emergency to the president, and Congress authorized the president to reallocate funds to deal with such an emergency. Trump has merely used the legal authority Congress had long since vested in his office. If these senators really believe that the president has been delegated too much leeway or that these laws violate the separation of powers under the Constitution, then their real objection is to the laws themselves, not Trump invoking them.

By voting against this particular national emergency declaration these senators have effectively showed that they do not consider the crisis on our border, which Homeland Security officials warned has pushed our defenses to a breaking point, to be as serious as the national emergency declarations about election fraud in Belarus or human rights violations in Nicaragua, or any of the dozens of other national emergency declarations that have gone untouched and uncriticized over the past four decades.

Congress has never overturned a national emergency declaration, and voting to do so now actually undercuts the claims of the defectors to be acting on principle. They have no good explanation for why this national emergency declaration raises constitutional concerns that the others did not. Their votes invoked the authority of the National Emergencies Act to vote against Trump despite their own stated objections to that very law.

Furthermore, their argument that this national emergency declaration violates the separation of powers does not even withstand scrutiny at the most basic level. They have protested that only Congress has authority to appropriate money under the Constitution, but the federal funding that Trump reallocated to the border wall was duly appropriated by Congress. While lawmakers may have originally specified that money for different purposes, they also handed the executive branch the lawful authority to redesignate the funding they had previously appropriated, creating the explicit authority for the president to do precisely what he has done here.

If the Republican senators who voted to overturn the national emergency declaration by Trump actually do oppose border security, they should at least have the courage to admit it outright and let their voters decide what to make of it, rather than hiding behind made up constitutional concerns.

Madison Gesiotto is an attorney and a commentator who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. She was an inauguration spokesperson and former Miss Ohio. She is on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.