Trump will likely not declare a national emergency to get his wall
It is not likely that Trump will declare a national emergency to get his wall. This is not just for the obvious reason that such a declaration will be challenged and thus tied up in the courts for two years.
The real reason Trump won’t declare a national emergency to get his wall is China. To successfully negotiate with China Trump must call the Democrats bluff and shut down the government a second time.
Let’s remember how this unfolded:
- Trump says he will shut down government unless congress approves his wall
- The Dems, naturally, let him
- We end up with the longest shutdown in US government history
- The Dems, sensing an opening, say they are ready to negotiate, but Trump must first reopen the government
- Trump calls their bluff and lets government reopen for 21 days
In truth, the Dems had no intention of conceding a wall to Trump — not because they oppose a wall, but because they want to deny Trump a victory. But they reasoned that if they could get Trump to reopen government, he would not again engage in such politically self-destructive behavior by shutting it down a second time. They assume Trump will opt for a national emergency, which they will counter by going to the courts to kill.
Here’s what they didn’t count on:
Side by side with the government shutdown is Trump’s negotiations with China over its trade practices. Trump has already imposed tariffs on hundreds of billion of dollars of China imports and has threatened to impose tariffs on all China imports. The escalation of tensions began to get out of hand last year until both sides sought a cooling off period of ninety days. During this cooling off period, the US and China were supposed to come to a comprehensive agreement to avert the Trump administration imposing tariffs on all China imports.
What do the China talks have to do with the government shutdown over the wall?
I’m glad you asked.
In Beijing, no doubt, they are looking at whether Trump has the inclination to go through with Shutdown Part Deux. Having ended that debacle indecisively, would Trump lead his forces back into a politically damaging shutdown a second time?
It might answer a question of great importance to China: Does Trump really want to go all in on tariffs against the US’s largest trading partner and foreign creditor? Can he be satisfied with something less than victory — say, selling more soybeans?
If Trump shuts down Washington a second time, China will have its answer.
This is why, absent an agreement, in all likelihood, Trump will shut down Washington a second time.