ABC, NBC Ignore the Fact that Wall Money Lawsuit Is Entirely Partisan

ABC and NBC on Tuesday ignored the fact that a lawsuit brought by 16 Attorneys General is entirely a partisan effort with every one being filed by Democrats. Although all three networks hyped the “outrage” and the “coalition of states,” only CBS This Morning explained the Democratic effort to stop funding of the wall. 

This Morning co-host Gayle King noted, “16 states are challenging President Trump's plan to build a border wall without the full approval of Congress.” Importantly, she told viewers, “All 16 attorneys general involved the suit are Democrats.” In contrast, NBC’s Today omitted this fact as co-host Hoda Kotb heralded the protesters: “Outrage. New protests erupt over President Trump declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall as 16 states join forces filing a federal lawsuit to stop him.”  

 

 

Correspondent Peter Alexander touted the legal effort against the wall funding: 

Fresh off President’s Day, that coalition of states is accusing President Trump of misusing his presidential power. Their suit argues the President has, quote, “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making” to fund the wall that the suit calls ‘a vanity project.” 

Hinting at the liberal effort against the White House, Alexander identified some of the states. But he never made the partisan angle clear: “Sixteen states including California, New Mexico and New York suing to block the President's effort to spend billions on his border wall by declaring a national emergency.” 

Only an on-screen graphic from NBC identified the political party of California’s very liberal Attorney General: 

XAVIER BECERRA (D-California, Attorney General): We're going to go out there and make sure that Donald Trump cannot steal money from the states and the people who need them. 

Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos opened the show with this alert: “Also breaking overnight, border showdown. 16 states have now filed a lawsuit to stop President Trump's emergency declaration to build a border wall.”

Reporter Jon Karl noted: 

This is the first and potentially most significant challenge to the President with his plan to build the wall by declaring a national emergency. The basic argument here is that the President is violating the Constitution, which gives the power to spend money to Congress, not to the President.

Just as with NBC, ABC’s journalists avoided mentioning that all 16 Attorneys General are Democrats. 


Transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more: 

CBS This Morning
2/19/19
7:10AM ET 

GAYLE KING: This morning, 16 states are challenging President Trump's plan to build a border wall without the full approval of Congress. A lawsuit filed last night calls his decision to declare a national emergency “unlawful and unconstitutional, showing flagrant disregard for the separation of powers. All 16 attorneys general involved the suit are Democrats. The complaint filed in Northern California asked a federal judge for an injunction to stop the President from acting on his emergency declaration. Mr. Trump predicted that on Friday and he said that he would be sued and that he would win in the Supreme Court. 
                                

Good Morning America
2/19/19
7AM

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Also breaking overnight, border showdown. 16 states have now filed a lawsuit to stop President Trump's emergency declaration to build a border wall. 

...

7:07AM ET 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Also breaking, as President Trump returned to the White House from Florida, 16 states filed a lawsuit challenging his declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall. They're calling the move unconstitutional. Our chief White House correspondent Jon Karl tracking all the latest on that. Good morning, Jon. 

JON KARL: Good morning, George. This is the first and potentially most significant challenge to the President with his plan to build the wall by declaring a national emergency. The basic argument here is that the President is violating the Constitution which gives the power to spend money to Congress, not to the President. And while Congress does have vast powers under the National Emergencies Act of 1976, the argument here is there’s not really an emergency and we heard from the attorney general of California who is spearheading this lawsuit that he intends to use the President's own words on this. 

If you remember George when the President announced the national emergency he said, quote, “I didn't need to do this.” At that press conference the President also made it clear he expected to get an legal challenge and expects to lose in the lower courts but the White House does believe they have a good chance of prevailing when this goes all the way up to the Supreme Court.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. But this is one of several legal challenges the President is going to face.  

 

Today
2/19/19
7AM

HODA KOTB: Outrage. New protests erupt over President Trump declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall as 16 states join forces filing a federal lawsuit to stop him.

7:03AM ET 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: We turn now to new developments in the border battle. 16 states have filed federal lawsuit challenging the President's emergency declaration in order to fund his wall. And the showdown could go all the way to the Supreme Court. We have two reports from Washington this morning. We'll start with NBC's Peter Alexander at the White House. Good morning. 

PETER ALEXANDER: Hey, Savannah. Good morning to you. Fresh off President’s Day, that coalition of states is accusing President Trump of misusing his presidential power. Their suit argues the President has, quote, “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making” to fund the wall that the suit calls “a vanity project.” Overnight, hundreds of protesters take to the streets in New York City and across the country, from Denver to D.C., directly in front of the White House — 

WOMAN: Is there an emergency?  

CROWD: No! 

ALEXANDER: — Where President Trump returned home overnight to a wall of opposition. Sixteen states including California, New Mexico and New York suing to block the President's effort to spend billions on his border wall by declaring a national emergency, calling it a flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles.” The suit alleges the President is using a manufactured crisis to divert federal dollars, blasting it as an unconstitutional and unlawful scheme. 

XAVIER BECERRA (D-California, Attorney General): We're going to go out there and make sure that Donald Trump cannot steal money from the states and the people who need them. 

ALEXANDER: The lawsuit even highlights the President's own words to NBC news in that Rose Garden announcement Friday. 

DONALD TRUMP: I could do the wall over a longer period of time. I didn't need to do this, but 
I'd rather do it much faster. 

BECERRA: The President admitted that there's not a basis for the declaration. He admitted there’s no crisis at that time border. 

ALEXANDER: Congressional Democrats are planning to try to block the President, too, by filing a joint resolution to repeal the emergency declaration. White House aides have indicated President Trump would veto any attempt to stop him. Still Republicans remain critical of the president's strategy of bypassing Congress to build his wall.  

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Congress had a vote on this and expressed itself. And so, I think it's a bad idea, whether the law as currently written permits it or not. 

ALEXANDER: Among the money the President wants to divert, three and a half billion from military construction projects that could impact plans to build a middle school on a Kentucky military base. 

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I would say it's better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border. We'll get them the school they need. Right now we have a national emergency on our hands. 

ALEXANDER: Back to the new details overnight regarding the lawsuit, 16 states joined several advocacy groups that have already gone to court, but some of the suits may be tossed out unless they can show how they would be harmed by the president's actions. Savannah and Hoda? 
 

 

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