In a Rose Garden meeting with reporters on Friday, President Trump claimed that he could grant himself emergency powers to build his southern border wall if necessary. Vox journalist Aaron Rupar provided video footage of the remarks on Twitter:
For a president to use his emergency powers, there has to be a justified reason, typically a result of war or disaster. In the past, Roosevelt used emergency powers to force Japanese Americans into internment camps after joining the World War II battlefront, and Truman exercised them during the Korean War to force steel mills into making enough materials to build weaponry and equipment for the war effort.
According to Trump, the immigration problem is so dire that he would be able to grant himself emergency powers and, consequently, build the wall “very quickly,” thus superseding Congress' decision to block the $5 billion budget request.
We hope he tries it.
Just like any other part of the government, using emergency powers comes with its own checks and balances. In this case, if a president is suspected of abusing emergency powers, the house of representatives then has the right to formally charge the president with exploiting his powers or even impeach him. From there, the decision would pass to the senate to determine guilt or innocence.
As of Thursday, the house is Democrat-controlled. Almost certainly, Trump would be charged with abusing his power, or impeachment articles would be drafted and passed onto the senate, where Republicans would be forced to come to Trump's aid or else finally denounce the party's embarrassment of a leader—unless this rock-solid argument persuaded them otherwise.