Republicans fear the next Democratic president could declare an emergency over climate change or guns
President Trump is considering declaring a national emergency over his proposed border wall, but some Republicans are fearful over what a future Democratic president could do with that power.
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson is among those who think Trump shouldn't take this route because of the precedent it would establish. "When the next Democratic President declares a national emergency over gun violence and takes executive actions to curtail gun purchases, you can thank the people urging Donald Trump to do the same with regards to the border," he wrote on Twitter. Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, too, issued this warning Thursday, suggesting an emergency could be declared over climate change in a Democratic administration.
This sentiment has not only been popular among conservative pundits, though, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) telling CNBC, "If today, the national emergency is border security ... tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change." Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.), meanwhile, has a different worry: that the next Democrat could use their emergency powers to say "we have to build transgender bathrooms in every elementary school in America," Talking Points Memo reports. Others have been offering more general warnings, as Vox points out, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) agreeing that Trump's declaration would be a "bad precedent" in an interview with CNBC.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) seemed to prove some of these fears valid in a Friday tweet, listing a number of non-wall issues he considers national emergencies, including gun violence and climate change.
One Republican who clearly has no concern about this is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who, after unsuccessfully attempting to broker an agreement with his fellow members of Congress, urged Trump to "Declare emergency, build the wall now." To that, conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg replied, "Can't wait to see what the next Dem president does with that precedent, Lindsey."