Donald Trump National Emergency Declaration Slammed by Conservative Groups: 'Erodes' 200 Years of American Government

President Donald Trump is facing criticism from all sides of the political spectrum having declared a national emergency over the southern border in order to access more funds to build his controversial wall.

Not only are progressives and Democrats lamenting the decision, but a collection of right-leaning business groups and think tanks—generally aligned with the Republican Party—have also joined the chorus warning Trump's declaration could set a dangerous precedent for American politics.

According to The Hill, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, FreedomWorks and the Heritage Foundation all expressed concern that any future liberal presidents could use Trump's example to circumvent Congress and secure funds for major health care reform, climate change initiatives or other progressive policies.

Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—a business-oriented lobbying group that has supported climate change-denying candidates but also opposed Trump's executive order ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—said the emergency declaration constituted a threat to the American political system.

"The declaration of national emergency in this instance will create a dangerous precedent that erodes the very system of government that has served us so well for over 200 years," he said.

Adam Brandon, the president of FreedomWorks—a libertarian think tank that helped the emergence of the Tea Party movement—said Trump's maneuver had dangerously undermined the power of Congress.

"No matter whether a Republican or a Democrat sits in the Oval Office, the concentration of power in the executive branch is alarming," he said. "We're concerned that this executive action only make matters worse. After all, no president looks at the powers left by his predecessor as a ceiling."

Kay Coles James, president of the Heritage Foundation—described by CNN as a major influence on Trump's transition team—said declaring a national emergency could have a "significant downside."

"This creates a dangerous precedent for future administrations and exposes the critical need for border security to the whims of activist federal judges," he said. "The omnibus legislation coupled with today's announcement is an unacceptable resolution to a genuine national crisis."

Republican senators and representatives also voiced their concern over the emergency, which Trump declared after Democratic lawmakers denied him $5.7 billion in funding for 234 miles of wall on the southern border. The emergency plus other executive measures will allow him to access as much as $8 billion from other government funds.

Though he said he supported Trump's goal, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis echoed fears that a future Democratic president could declare a national emergency to push their policies. "It's clear what kind of rabbit hole our country can go down when we have a Democratic president who wants more government intrusion into our economy and our lives," he said.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul warned the declaration is likely unconstitutional, Maine Senator Susan Collins said the move would be a "mistake," and Michigan Representative Justin Amash said the president was "attempting to circumvent the constitution" over a "non-emergency."

Right-wing media personality Ann Coulter—a former supporter of Trump who has become a critic over his percieved inability to deliver the wall—also took aim at the president.

"It was one thing, the promise he made every single day at every single speech. Forget the fact that he's digging his own grave," Coulter said in a radio interview Friday following Trump's speech. "The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot."

This article has been updated to include comments from Ann Coulter.

Donald Trump emergency declaration conservatives border wall
President Donald Trump speaks on border security during a Rose Garden event at the White House February 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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