Trump Threatens National Emergency and Years-Long Shutdown over Border Wall

[Content Note: Nativism; authoritarianism.]

Once again, I want to remind everyone reading this piece that Donald Trump's vile nativist agenda is based on outright lies. There is no urgent crisis threatening the United States because of undocumented immigration — not an employment crisis, not a crime and violence crisis, not a health crisis. The opioid crisis is not attributable to migrant workers or asylum-seeking refugees. Terrorists are not entering the country over the southern border.

The administration's rationale for their obscene immigration policy continually shifts, but every new explanation is just as dishonest as the one before it.

It has always been important to understand that Trump's war on immigrants has no justification beside profit and malice, because it has resulted in sustained abuse of entire families and the deaths of at least one adult and two children.

And it continues to be important to center the pointlessness of this relentless cruelty except for cruelty's sake as Trump inflicts pain on nearly a million federal workers during the government shutdown and further threatens to declare a national emergency if he's not given what he demands, thus plunging our democracy even further into the fetid swamp of authoritarianism his presidency was always going to be.

David Taylor and Martin Pengelly at the Guardian report on his latest grotesquery:
Donald Trump said on Sunday he may declare a national emergency over immigration, to allow him to build a wall on America's southern border.

As the government shutdown triggered by the president entered its 16th day, Trump threatened to take extraordinary action to bypass Congress, where Democrats refuse to pass a spending bill that would give him $5.6bn to build his wall. New House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the wall "an immorality" and refused to fund Trump's signature campaign pledge.

By declaring a state of national emergency, the White House thinks it will be able to unlock money without congressional approval, although it has given no specific details of the move.

Adam Schiff, a Democratic leader on Capitol Hill, declared the idea "a non-starter."

Speaking on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, the California representative said: "If Harry Truman couldn't nationalise the steel industry during wartime, this president doesn't have the power to declare an emergency and build a multi-billion dollar wall on the border. So that's a non-starter."

...Leaving the White House for Camp David on Sunday, Trump claimed that many of the 800,000 federal staff either working without pay or told to stay at home "agree 100% with what I'm doing."

"I may decide a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days," he said, insisting: "I have tremendous support within the Republican party."

...Trump said on Friday the shutdown could go on for years. ...His disregard for the hardship of unpaid workers was brushed aside on his return to the White House, as he said: "They will make an adjustment because they want to see the border taken care of."
Pretending as though federal workers speak with one voice is as mendacious and foolish as pretending to speak for the entirety of "the American people," as politicians often do. There is vast ideological diversity among federal workers, and many of them staunchly reject Trump's policies and are disinclined to "make an adjustment" in order to support this monstrous pursuit of a monument to his nativist white supremacy.

And, irrespective of any federal worker's individual ideology, there aren't a whole lot of people who can "make an adjustment" on principle to the tune of no income for the indefinite future.

It's an absolutely absurd ask and a wildly unreasonable expectation. But Trump simply doesn't care. Nor do his allies in Republican leadership, including his #2, Mike Pence. All of this is based on demonstrable lies, and they are willing to sacrifice other people's lives and safety to win a political battle based on those lies. This isn't even a battle based in reality. It's a battle of wills, which isn't about a wall at all but about the integrity of our democracy.

And the people seeking to undermine our democracy don't care how many people get hurt, and they never will, because malice is the agenda.

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