This is not a popular opinion, to say the least. But McConnell has a weak hand: the 35 day shutdown followed a 100-0 vote in the Senate to fund government right before Christmas. Yet there weren't enough votes to override Trumps' veto, in the Senate. And now? Apparently McConnell knows where the votes are to override another veto, so he told Trump he would support a declaration of an emergency, then went to the Senate floor to interrupt Sen. Grassley and be sure he got that support on the public record (i.e, cable news).McConnell’s favorite expression is that “there’s no education in the second kick of a mule.” No fool he, McConnell made sure he locked the President in, announcing Mr. Trump’s intentions publicly on the floor. That would bind the President to stand by his word.— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) February 15, 2019
Shortly after that, as NPR noted this afternoon, the White House announced Trump would, indeed, announce such an emergency, and the President is now slated to speak in the Rose Garden mid-morning tomorrow. McConnell made sure Trump couldn't change his mind again (the first shutdown was unanticipated; if memory serves, many Senators had already gone home after the 100-0 vote). It wasn't much, but it kept the government open. Helluva way to run a railroad....
McConnell did this because McConnell has no cards to play. Yes, an emergency declaration won't go down well with all GOP Senators; but will there be enough to override a veto of the resolution sure to come from the House? The courts will save the country (because the courts will have no choice. They can't let the President rewrite Art. 1 of the Constitution at will, or run roughshod over the 5th Amendment.), but mostly the courts will take the issue out of everybody's hands until, as some have noted, Trump's term expires and the next POTUS decides there is no emergency. It will take that long to get to the Supremes, one supposes. I don't think they'll be anxious to reach down and grab it, anyway; but who knows?
Either way, this is the hill the GOP dies on. The hard-core GOP base is turning on Trump for signing this spending bill (if he does; stay tuned!). Even Limbaugh and Coulter and Hannity will ultimately go where their supporters go, racing in front of the parade to pretend they are leading it. Trump already sees abortion as the new shiny object to dangle in front of his base. Declaring a national emergency means nothing to him except a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. He's always conducted business as if he were spending Monopoly money; now he's treating government like it was merely a board game.
What he's going to do sets a very bad precedent if the courts don't slap it down hard. So once again we must look to lawyers to save us from ourselves.
And if they don't:
"I used to laugh when my more progressive friends warned me that Trump wanted to turn America into a third-world banana republic." https://t.co/7KiCnGkP32— POLITICO Magazine (@POLITICOMag) February 15, 2019