All three morning shows on Friday reacted with extreme alarm to the news that Donald Trump would declare a state of emergency on the southern border in order to fund a wall. CBS This Morning journalists sounded down right apocalyptic, warning that the republic was in danger. Co-host Bianna Golodryga opened the show this way: “We begin with President Trump who is poised to take action today that could test our 230-year-old system of checks and balances in government.”
This Morning's Nancy Cordes oddly insisted, “The decision sent shock waves through Capitol Hill.” But, of course, Trump has been all but announcing he would make this move for weeks. So this is hardly a surprise.
Over on Good Morning America, former Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos opened the show by trumpeting, “Breaking news. President Trump set to declare a national emergency this morning over the border wall. Bypassing Congress in an unprecedented move. Now even Republicans lashing out over the President's plan.”
A number of conservatives object to the emergency declaration, but it’s certainly not unprecedented, having been used 58 times since 1976.
On the Today show, co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie managed to call the declaration a “crisis” and a possible “abuse of power,” all in a few seconds.
HODA KOTB: Our top story, one crisis averted, another one started?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We'll see. This morning the President will sign the deal passed by Congress that avoids a government shutdown, but he plans to declare a national emergency to pay for his border wall. Some critics are already calling that an abuse of power.
Though the declaration by Trump is controversial, don’t expect consistency from a hypocritical media that repeatedly gave Obama a pass on constitutionally dubious actions
Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
7:03:45 to 7:07:22
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: We begin with President Trump who is poised to take action today that could test our 230-year-old system of checks and balances in government. He's expected to declare a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexican border so he can reallocate federal money to build a border wall. This morning, the President is due to sign a budget deal passed overwhelmingly by Congress that will prevent another government shutdown. It includes only about one quarter of the border security funding the President demanded, so he plans to act on his own to find the rest.
GAYLE KING: CBS News confirms the President does plan to spend $8 billion on the wall. Three and a half billion will come from the Defense Department’s military construction budget, another two and a half billion will be diverted from the Pentagon’s drug interdiction program. And six hundred million dollars will come from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill with a move that is sure to be challenged in court. Nancy, good morning.
NANCY CORDES: Good morning. Well, declaring a national emergency essentially means that the President can gather the funds that he wants for a border wall without the approval of Congress. Democrats accuse him fear mongering to get what he wants, and even some Republicans worry that this creates a dangerous precedent.
SENATOR Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of
CORDES: The decision sent shock waves through Capitol Hill.
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Will Trump ever look our soldiers and veterans in the eye and tell them it is they who will pay for this wall of waste? Of course not.
CORDES: The President has unilateral powers to declare a national emergency, which enables him to seize property and redirect funds from other projects without congressional approval. It's typically reserved for natural disasters or major crises like the September 11th attacks or foreign interference in U.S. elections. President Trump has been hinting at it for weeks.
DONALD TRUMP: If they can't do it, I will declare a national emergency. I have the absolute right to do. It.
CORDES: GOP leaders who had been lukewarm on the idea suddenly had a change of heart.
MITCH MCCONNELL: I've indicated to him that I'm going to prepare — I'm going to support the national emergency declaration.
CORDES: House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy wrote, "We face a humanitarian and national security crisis at the border that must be addressed." But Democrats point to customs and border statistics that show illegal border crossings are near a 20-year low. Do you still plan to file a legal challenge?
NANCY PELOSI: That's an option, and we'll review our options.
CORDES: The President's allies argue he was left with little choice after a five-week partial shutdown and three-week congressional negotiations failed to produce funding he had demanded for his proposed border wall. But some Republicans worry the move could create new options for a future Democratic president. Speaker Pelosi pointed to the Parkland shooting and gun violence as an example.
PELOSI: That's a national emergency. Why don't you declare that emergency, Mr. President? I wish you would. But a Democratic president can do that. Democratic president can declare emergencies as well.
CORDES: Even if the President does sign the emergency declaration, all those funds might not be go to a wall right away. That's because he is expected to face an array of legal challenges from house Democrats and others. The President, Gayle, insists that the law is 100 percent on his side.
KING: We're not surprised to hear that from the White House. But this conversation certainly continues. Thank you, Nancy.
Good Morning America
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Breaking news, President Trump set to declare a national emergency this morning over the border wall. Bypassing Congress in an unprecedented move. Now even Republicans lashing out over the President's plan. We're live in Washington with the latest.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to begin with breaking news from Washington. Looking live at the White House where President Trump will sign the border deal to keep the government open but also declare a national emergency in an attempt to bypass Congress so he can get funds for his border wall.
CECILIA VEGA: The move already sparking fierce backlash not just from Democrats, but from some in the President's own party. Our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl has the very latest. Jon, this is setting a stage for a very nasty showdown between the White House and Congress.
JON KARL: A showdown with Congress and, Cecilia, a showdown with the courts. This morning the President plans to announce an end around around Congress and spending more than Congress has approved. This morning President Trump plans to declare a national emergency as a way to get billions more in funding for his border wall.
DONALD TRUMP: And it's a big wall. It's a strong wall. You're going to have to be in extremely good shape to get over this one. They would be able to climb Mount Everest a lot easier, I think.
KARL: It’s a highly controversial move sure to be challenged in court but one the President has been telegraphing for weeks.
TRUMP: We're either have a win or I will declare a national emergency.
KARL: But a win, he didn't get. Congress approving only a fraction of what he wanted for the wall.
NANCY PELOSI: They did a spectacular job.
KARL: Overnight House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats celebrated the passage of the 1100-page funding bill, averting another shutdown.
REP. NITA LOWRY: Neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything you wanted.
KARL: ABC News has learned the President will declare his plans to spend a total of $8 billion on the wall, even more than he had asked for in part by declaring the national emergency and shifting billions of dollars from the Pentagon's budget. Democrats say that would be an abuse of power and set a dangerous new precedent.
PELOSI: It's not an emergency. What's happening at the border is a humanitarian challenge to us and the President has tried to sell a bill of goods. The President is doing an end run around Congress.
KARL: ABC News learned the Justice Department warned the white house that the President's national emergency declaration would almost certainly be blocked, at least on a temporary basis by the courts. White house officials, however, tell me they are confident they would ultimately win this on appeal. Cecilia and George.
HODA KOTB: Our top story, one crisis averted, another one started?
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We'll see. This morning the President will sign the deal passed by Congress that avoids a government shutdown, but he plans to declare a national emergency to pay for his border wall. Some critics are already calling that an abuse of power. We’ve got complete coverage on the move and the fallout.