CNN’s Chris Cuomo closed the first hour of his show, Cuomo Prime Time, Monday night by urging the GOP to “muscle up” and vote against President Trump’s national emergency declaration. He also complained that “we can’t get 67 percent of the House and Senate to agree about separation of powers.” Maybe Cuomo has amnesia that prevents him from remembering that he himself did not seem to care about separation of powers when Obama was President.
Cuomo began his closing argument by urging Republicans to “muscle up and vote against an emergency that they can argue is not in keeping with the statute at play and that is a huge insult to their long stated notion of separation of powers.” Cuomo brought up Republicans’ opposition to President Obama’s executive order on DACA in an effort to paint them as hypocrites while admitting that “this is different. There’s a statute created here to allow for the President to declare an emergency.” Still, Cuomo argued that “that statute never contemplated, has never been used to do anything like what this President is trying.”
Cuomo also complained that only four Republican Senators have announced their intention to vote with Democrats in expressing disapproval of the national emergency, asking “why isn’t that four four times that?” Cuomo played a clip of one of those Republicans, Rand Paul, complaining about President Obama’s DACA executive order and praised him for saying that “I would literally lose my political soul if I decided to treat President Trump different than President Obama.” Cuomo favorably contrasted Paul with the majority of his fellow Congressional Republicans, whom he described as “soul-less.”
After playing a clip of President Trump arguing that Republicans “who vote against border security” put themselves in “great jeopardy,” Cuomo asserted “I’m not telling anybody what to do, that’s the job for the jobs over on state TV, you know, the ones who do tell the President and his pawns what to do and they listen and follow it.” It looks like Cuomo desperately needs to come up with some new talking points; the reference to Fox News as “state TV” is really getting old.
Cuomo also complained that “we can’t get 67 percent of the House and Senate to agree about separation of powers.” Cuomo didn’t seem to care that much about the separation of powers during the Obama administration. During an interview with Republican Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart last year, Cuomo argued that President Obama had to issue the executive order on DACA because the GOP did “nothing.”
Cuomo would have a lot more credibility when it came to describing Republicans as hypocrites if he had the same attitude about President Obama’s executive order that he does about President Trump’s national emergency. Rather than refer to the DACA executive order as a “power grab,” Cuomo described it as “the only protection those people could get.” According to constitutional scholar Chris Cuomo, President Obama could violate separation of powers because he had a noble goal in mind.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Cuomo Prime Time
CHRIS CUOMO: Magic number is 12; 12 days or less, and we will know. Here’s the question. Will the GOP muscle up and vote against an emergency declaration that they can argue is not in keeping with the statute at play, and that is a huge insult to their long-stated notion of separation of powers? Remember how DACA outraged them? Now, this is different. There’s a statute created here to allow for the President to declare an emergency. But that statute never contemplated, has never been used to do anything like what this President is trying. Everybody knows it. But what will they do? We’re now at four GOPers who say it’s too much to swallow; Rand Paul, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Thom Tillis. Why isn’t that four four times that? They would have gone bananas if you changed the R to a D after the President’s name. Remember what righties like Rand Paul said about Obama and DACA? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The President acts like he’s a king. He ignores the Constitution. He arrogantly says, “if Congress will not act, then I must.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Okay. So, he knows it applies right now, every bit as much. And you know what? He owned it. “I would literally lose my political soul,” he said, “if I decided to treat President Trump different than President Obama.” But there are a lot of soul-less folks running around, aren’t there? That’s why so many hate this game, so many of you, because it is a game. It’s about positioning, not principle; being brazen, not truly brave.
Do these men and women really fear the President more than they fear surrendering what they used to say mattered most? This President answered that question with a smile and a stare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I really think that Republicans that vote against border security and the wall, I think, you know, I’ve been okay at predicting things, I think they put themselves at great jeopardy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He could be right. I’m not telling anybody what to do. That’s the job for the folks over on state TV, you know, the ones who do tell the President and his pawns what to do, and they listen and follow it. I’m just forcing the issue of going at people for not doing what they say their principles are. The problem, however, is going to be bigger than just a simple “no vote.” Even if the four Senators stand strong, so will POTUS. He sees a win in this. He’s going to go for it. He’s not burdened by principle. He knows he’s fighting against weak opponents. They fear him, he knows it. He’s going to veto, then it would take a two-thirds override. And think about this for a second. We can’t get 67 percent of the House and Senate to agree about separation of powers. They know what this is. They know it’s a power grab. They know it’s an abuse of the statute as drafted, intended and exercised in the past. An emergency that the President said is not an emergency. 67 percent! You barely pass a test with that grade, and it will likely show all those except the most ardent Trumpers that the GOP has once again failed to stand up for its stated principles. And in doing that, it will also reinforce a bigger decay; the disaffection corroding our political culture. People hate the process. And increasingly, they think so little of the people in it that they elected a President whom they knew checked very few, if any, boxes of good character. Why? Because they don’t think those traits matter anymore. They actually preferred to send someone to Washington in large part because he seemed to despise the same people and things they do, and he promised to disrupt. And much of that tweaks the media about this President’s bombast and abuse of truth and decency. But all of that actually comes across to his supporters as him fighting the bad guys on their own terms. So, that’s where we are. That’s the real deal. And right now, we are living a moment that matters. 12 days, the vote has to happen; by statute. Old Mitch McConnell doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like the President doing this.