In his latest gambit to have his southern wall built, Trump told reporters on Sunday, "We're looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency - just read the papers." Trump is right about one thing: There is a national emergency, but it is not the lack of a southern border wall; the real emergency is Trump himself.
The government shutdown - now moving into its third week - is solely the fault of the President. He has thrown the government into complete chaos to get his wall. The shutdown is a national emergency in the making, and Trump is the cause.
Because of Trump's shutdown, government workers are unable to pay their bills (click here), low-income families are adversely affected (click here), and national security is undermined because unpaid TSA employees are calling in sick (click here). All this because Trump wants his wall.
According to experts, undocumented border crossings are declining and the number of undocumented immigrants is at a record low (click here). Border security, while important, is not a national emergency. But it is an emergency for Trump because he is in danger of not fulfilling his biggest campaign promise. Trump's egocentric worldview renders him unable to distinguish between a national emergency and him not getting his way.
An even greater emergency is the looming constitutional crisis if Trump abuses the National Emergencies Act (NEA) merely to fulfill his pledge to build the wall. Never before has a President been so willing to bend and stretch his constitutional powers to bypass Congress just for political expediency. Trump has already abused his authority to try to ban Muslims from entering the country and now he is threatening to do the same to build his needless barrier.
But the most critical emergency is Trump's incessant authoritarian conduct as President. He obstructed justice by ordering James Comey to drop an ongoing investigation involving issues of national security, then fired him for not obeying; he has openly attacked federal judges and questioned their legitimacy because of their race or political affiliation; he has called for Senate investigations into news outlets that have published stories that he deems unflattering; and, he is waging an ongoing war against the Mueller investigation that, by any measure, is already a success, having thus far yielded dozens of indictments and at least seven guilty pleas.
In any other Presidency these anti-American and authoritarian actions would dominate national discourse. But with Trump it is just business as usual.
Trump is - on a daily basis - attacking the foundations of the Constitution and our democracy itself and we barely raise our collective eyebrow. That is the real national emergency.