White House senior adviser Stephen Miller faced tough questions about the recently-declared state of emergency from Fox News Sunday host Christ Wallace during an appearance on the program.
Wallace, during the interview, repeatedly asked Miller to provide another example of a time when a president has invoked a national emergency in an effort to get access to funds Congress has denied.
“Can you point to a single instance, even one, where the president asked Congress for money, Congress refused to give him that money, and the president then invoked national emergency powers to get the money?” Wallace asked. “Can you find one case?”
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Miller noted that other presidents have invoked the 1976 National Emergencies Act to use military construction funds, but Wallace pointed out that of the 59 times that the act has been invoked, just two were for military construction funds. The first was during the Gulf War and the second was following the 9/11 attacks.
“This is hardly comparable to either of those,” Wallace said.
Miller snapped back, “Can you name one foreign threat in the world today outside this country’s borders that currently kills more Americans than the threats crossing our southern border?”
“You know, the joy of this is I get to ask you questions,” Wallace said. “You don’t get to ask me.”
Miller never could answer Wallace’s initial question and did not provide another instance of a president invoking a national emergency to get access to funds they have been denied by Congress.
“This is a deep intellectual problem that is plaguing this city, which is we’ve had thousands of Americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border,” Miller said.
“This is a threat in our country… and if the president can’t defend this country, then he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office.”
Trump officially declared a state of emergency Friday, a decision that has upset both Republicans and Democrats.
“The president is trying to make an end run around Congress,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters Thursday.
And Republicans have raised concerns about what kind of precedent the move could set for Democrats.
“We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Thursday. “Today’s national emergency is border security. But a future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal.”
Notably, Trump’s argument that there is a crisis at the southern border is not backed up by facts. In recent months, he has claimed that 4,000 suspected “terrorists” came across the border last year.
But as NBC News reported last month, only 41 people cited on CBP’s Terrorist Screening Database were stopped along the southern border between October 2017 and March 2018. Of that number, only six were categorized as “non-U.S. persons.” The remainder were U.S. citizens or legal U.S. residents.
Trump has also repeatedly claimed that immigrants are inherently criminal and that caravans of Central American migrants are full of individuals looking to do harm to innocent Americans. Multiple studies, however, have shown that immigrants are actually less likely to commit crimes or join gangs than native-born Americans.