It seems clear that President Donald Trump is preparing to declare a national emergency on the border so that he can then begin construction of the border wall and improve border security.
On Thursday’s radio show, conservative talk giant Rush Limbaugh laid out the conventional wisdom:
President Trump is saying that he will sign and declare a national emergency for the wall. In fact, the conventional wisdom inside the Beltway is this, that eventually Trump is gonna realize that Chuck and Nancy are not gonna budge. That Chuck and Nancy are not gonna budge, they’re not gonna authorize a single penny, much less a dollar, much less $5 billion. The shutdown’s gonna go on and on and on. I’s gonna start damaging and being harmful, so will say the media, and a solution will be required, that it can’t go on in perpetuity.
Indeed, the Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump really is working on lining up a national emergency:
The White House has begun laying the groundwork for a declaration of national emergency to build President Trump’s border wall, a move certain to set off a firestorm of opposition in Congress and the courts but one that could pave the way for an end to the three-week government shutdown.
The administration is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion allocated but not spent for civil works projects, two people with knowledge of the developments said Thursday.
Trump has urged the Army Corps to determine how fast contracts could be signed and whether construction could begin within 45 days, according to one of the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the preparations.
Rush then noted that liberals assume that once Trump declares his emergency and rules that he will begin construction his border security system, the liberals will then launch lawsuit after lawsuit to stymie his progress.
But Rush adds:
In this scenario, he doesn’t get the wall because his declaration of emergency is declared unconstitutional, and therefore the money is not permitted to be spent by a judge that the Democrats go find. And that will require Trump and his team to then challenge that judge in the appellate system, which would then, as did the travel ban, go all the way to the Supreme Court, if the Supreme Court decides to hear it. The point is it would delay any work on a wall for months.
This does seem to be the likely scenario.
It is also the scenario that the media will dearly love to facilitate.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.