By Lee Enochs
Recently, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has re-emerged as a national force to be reckoned with while receiving significant press coverage for his constitutionally principled and implacable stand against President Trump’s recent national emergency declaration on illegal immigration.
Such a declaration reallocates substantial tax payer’s money from military spending to fund a portion of Trump’s proposed border wall.
Like Senator Paul, I am generally and genuinely favorable to most of President Trump’s policy decisions.
However, I cannot give acquiescence with Donald Trump’s recent declaration of a national emergency and call for the reallocation of billions of dollars towards his border wall project out of concern that such an executive action by President Trump violates the clear separation of powers as delineated by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution.
Another mitigating circumstance that prohibits me from supporting President Trump’s national emergency declaration and plan to reallocate funds towards his border wall pertains to the controversial nature of such use of executive orders and declarations of national emergencies in their own right.
Such executive actions were ironically decried vehemently and vociferously by Donald Trump and most Republicans around the country during the Obama administration.
As Senator Rand Paul said in his recent op-ed for Fox News, “Every single Republican I know decried President Obama’s use of executive power to legislate. We were right then. But the only way to be an honest officeholder is to stand up for the same principles no matter who is in power“ ( Rand Paul, “I Support President Trump, But I Can’t Support This National Emergency Declaration,” March 3, 2019).
Similarly, Senator Paul said on Twitter, “No president has previously used emergency powers to spend money denied by Congress, and it was clearly not intended to do that.”
While Trump may get his border wall yet, he should not attempt to circumvent the will of the people as expressed by the disapproval of Congress in attempting to use unallocated funds via the declaration of a national emergency.
Senator Paul is right to call for a curbing of Presidential power, without such “checks and balances” upon the executive branch, America would take a further step towards tyranny.
As President James Madison eloquently argued in the Federalist Papers, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary“ (Federalist No. 51, 1788).
Lee Enochs is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and has studied political science at Princeton University. Lee is also the author of the book, “The Case for Rand Paul.”