On Sunday, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” President Donald Trump does have the authority to declare a national emergency and use the U.S. military to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Does President Trump have the ability, have the authority, to national emergency, have the military build his wall,” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Well, unfortunately, the short answer is yes. There is a provision in the law that says the president can declare an emergency. It’s been done a number of times,” Smith replied.
He noted, however, that course of action has been primarily used to build facilities overseas.
“And in this case, I think the President would be wide open to a court challenge saying, ‘Where’s the emergency, you have to establish that in order to do this,’ but beyond that it would be a terrible use of defense dollars,” he continued.
I joined @ThisweekABC to discuss the government shutdown and the President’s plan to declare a nat'l emergency to pay for his proposed border wall. He is shutting down the gov't to break his signature campaign promise - that taxpayers weren’t going to have to pay for the wall. pic.twitter.com/oglk7azYKA— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) January 6, 2019
Smith added building a wall in other places along the border would not be helpful in combating illegal immigration.
Trump floated the idea of declaring a national emergency during a press conference with reporters on Friday.
“We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it,” he said.