Dozens of former national security officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations are speaking out against Donald Trump’s border wall national emergency declaration. “There is no factual basis” for a national emergency, the 58 officials say in a statement being released just ahead of a House vote on a resolution to block Trump’s move.
”Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,” and taking money away from its planned uses “will undermine U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.” In an 11-page document, they run through the now-familiar facts Trump is pretending don’t exist, the Washington Post reports, such as the current low rate of illegal border crossings, the lack of a violent crime problem at the border, and the fact that most drugs come into the U.S. through legal ports of entry.
The group includes former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and John Kerry, former defense secretaries Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel, all of whom served under Democratic presidents though Hagel had been a Republican senator. Republican officials joining the statement include former United Nations ambassador Thomas Pickering, who served under President George H.W. Bush, and Eliot Cohen, who served in George W. Bush’s State Department. A separate group of 23 former Republican members of Congress are urging Congress to pass the resolution against the national emergency. Trump has said he’ll veto the resolution if it passes.