Donald Trump: Emergency in the White House

Even with a state of emergency, Donald Trump will not be able to build his wall quickly. It's about symbolism: In the budget dispute he has maneuvered himself into an impossible situation.

Such a national emergency, Donald Trump would probably like that. And also his followers. Just catch up, without annoying votes and compromises. Finally build the wall to Mexico and at the same time mark the strong man. But it will not be that easy. You'll see what happens in the next few days, the US President said in a borderline interview with Fox News. Probably this: Many will advise against it. Whether he listens to her is another question.

What Trump may be up to finally loosing money for the wall is not quite as drastic as it sounds. There is no question of a state of emergency which would cancel out large parts of the democratic processes, ie not of Turkish or Egyptian states - even if Trump sometimes speaks of envy of such agile autocrats as Erdoğan or al-Sissi. The powers of the president would be significantly expanded in the short term, but not beyond the control of Congress and the judiciary.

In this case, it's about money. Contrary to Trump's promise, it was always clear that Mexico would not pay for its big symbol, the wall on the border. That leaves only the US taxpayer. However, it is not the president who has the money but the congress: Trump can not spend a dollar without a law. If the household runs out, it needs a new one. Without agreement is suddenly shift for many who are paid by the government or federal administration. This time Trump is responsible for the so-called shutdown: he is blocking the budget because the financing for his wall has not been estimated. And he seems ready for no compromise.

The Wall as a "military construction project"

But, as is often the case, Trump is apparently ready to go all out, calling for a national emergency to pass the congress money for his wall. The requirements are initially more formal. The president can simply declare a state of emergency, the required concrete justification may be the same as what Trump has repeatedly said about the situation on the Mexican border: an acute crisis of national security, excessive illegal migration, drug smuggling, terrorist attacks - even the real ones Misrepresent developments.

When the state of emergency is declared, there are countless laws that Trump could invoke to become more concrete. According to media reports, it is being considered that the Wall should be classified as a "military construction project" in view of the alleged security crisis. The Minister of Defense can instruct such projects in emergency situations without the consent of the Congress. Similarly, he is expected to stop civilian army projects to turn soldiers away for the construction of facilities "essential for national defense". The wall as a military fortification against the acute threat from the outside, the only way to avert - a questionable reasoning.

The Congress, assuming appropriate majorities, could directly challenge the declaration of emergency. Both chambers could decide to end it immediately. On the other hand, if Trump vetoed it, a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate would need to overrule it. The Democrats, who continue to strictly oppose the financing of the construction of the Wall, would be a safe bank. However, it is questionable how the Republicans would behave.

The excavators would not roll right away

In addition, immediate legal action against the emergency regulations is to be expected. They would probably drag on for a long time, but interim injunctions could block Trump's ability to act. Even if the president could theoretically dispose of the funds from the defense budget, the excavators might not immediately roll. And even right on the border, the project would encounter problems that could end up in court: In many places landowners would have to be expropriated and compensated, the dispute could take years.

So Trump would hardly be able to get closer to the goal of his populist dreams. The construction of the Wall would still have to overcome many hurdles. It should rather be about the symbolic effect. His followers should see that he does not give in and exhaust all means. For in the budget dispute the president has maneuvered himself into an impossible position: If he renounces the funds for the wall, he appears weak; but the longer the shutdown lasts, the more the support stops. Trump needs someone to blame - the opposition and the judiciary. Only then can he end the unpopular budget freeze, for which he bears the responsibility.


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