In his signature fashion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced the criticism of the Democrats and said that his wall is “medieval” but works. Last night, the public saw both the President and the Democrats announce that they will not yield an inch as the country continues what will soon become the longest government shutdown in history. Lingering in the background is the threat of a presidential declaration of emergency — followed by a unilateral order to start to build the wall with unobligated funds. If so, the White House needs to guarantee that it will not repeat the grossly negligent performance of its first travel ban roll out. Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with Democrats in the afternoon.
During a signing ceremony, Trump observed “They say it’s a medieval solution, a wall. It’s true, because it worked then and it works even better now.”
As I argue in a column this week, Trump does have the authority to declare such an emergency and could likely find funds to start construction but far less than what he needs to finish a wall.
If there is a declaration in the making, Trump needs to demand better performance from his staff after the disastrous rollouts on the travel ban. That includes gathering data and findings supporting the crisis in advance. Moreover, he will have to prepare for a fight over the source of the funding. I believe that critics are wrong and that he clearly has the authority to declare the crisis.
So if you are going to go medieval, be sure to have your siege equipment ready in advance. Otherwise, it can be a tad embarrassing from either a medieval or modern perspective: