WASHINGTON DC — A Republican congressman who opposes President Donald Trump’s emergency border wall declaration said Sunday he believes Trump “is violating our constitutional system” with the declaration.
The comments from Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, came as he discussed the declaration, which Trump made last month to unlock additional funding to construct his proposed wall along the southern border.
“I think the President is violating our constitutional system. And I don’t think Congress can grant legislative powers to the President by statute,” Amash told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “You can’t just pass a statute that says, ‘The President now has appropriations power and bypass Congress.’ ”
Amash said he thinks his Republican colleagues who support the move are abdicating their constitutional responsibilities, but that he doesn’t “think that they are all intending to do that.” He added that Republican members of Congress who argue the President was granted this power by Congress are probably not “thinking to themselves, ‘Oh, I just want the President to violate the Constitution.’ ”
Amash, who is one of 13 Republicans in the House who voted with Democrats to pass a measure to block Trump’s declaration, told Tapper that “we have to protect our own power.”
The measure will now be considered in the Senate, where, Amash said, he’s “hopeful many Republican senators will agree.”
Not ruling out a 2020 bid
Amash, who was first elected to Congress in 2010, declined on Sunday to rule out a possible 2020 presidential run as a Libertarian candidate.
“Well, I would never rule anything out. That’s not on my radar right now,” he said of a 2020 bid to Tapper. “But I think that it is important that we have someone in there who is presenting a vision for America that is different from what these two parties are presenting.”
Amash told Tapper he believes there is a “wild amount of partisan rhetoric on both sides” and that “Congress is totally broken.”
“I think that we need to return to basic American principles, talk about what we have in common as a people — because I believe we have a lot in common as Americans — and try to move forward together, rather than fighting each other all the time,” Amash said.