Trump is the real ‘national emergency,’ Harvard law professor says

'I agree we have a national emergency, but the emergency is this president'

Donald Trump falsely claims ex-presidents told him they wanted the Mexico border wall

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, a respected constitutional law expert has disregarded Donald Trump’s description of a “crisis” at the Mexican border, saying the real national emergency is the president himself.

Mr Lessig was asked about Mr Trump’s threatening call to declare a “national emergency” to get the funds to build his $5.6 billion steel border wall without congressional approval.

“The man is using words that have no connection to reality,” the professor told MSNBC. “He says we have a national crisis—a national emergency. I agree we have a national emergency, but the emergency is this president.”

He added that the emergency is that Americans do not have an executive “who’s exercising his power in a responsible way.”

The constitutional law scholar said Mr Trump cannot simply build his wall without congressional approval.

“Ultimately he has no constitutional authority to exercise the power to build this wall without Congress’ approval,” he added. “These statutes were certainly not written with the intent to give a man like Donald Trump the power that he’s now claiming.”

Mr Lessig has criticised Mr Trump and the Republican Party for failing to uphold the Constitution amid the government shutdown. In an op-ed published in the Guardian on Friday, he said the Constitution would not approve the actions of a president who shutdown parts of the government as ransom for insisting on establishing a programme that is not supported by constituents.

Mr Lessig referred to the Trump administration as a “veto-cracy,” ruled by “petulance” instead of “principle.”

He also argued that if the Republican Party continues to support Mr Trump and his quest for a border wall, they are essentially saying that any president “support whatever policy he likes,” including nationalized healthcare.

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“The fools are they who enable this constitutional immorality,” Mr Lessig added. “Those fools are the Senate Republicans, who have placed party over country, and President Trump over the Republican Party.”

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