Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said if President Trump declared a national emergency over the border it would make him a dictator in an interview Monday.
"It is not legal, not in compliance with the National Emergency Act that he would be attempting to utilize, and there's certainly not a national emergency. These is more actions of a dictator. The president, on the one hand, has been declaring his opposition to the actions of a dictator in Venezuela at the same time that he is suggesting that he would act like one here in the United States," Wasserman Schultz quipped.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: You chair the subcommittee that deals with military construction. That is especially important today because that is the pot of money, if you will, that the president would be dipping into if he declares a national emergency to fund his border wall. It sure sounds, from what he said to CBS, that that is the direction he is headed by the end of next week. If that is the case, Congresswoman, what do you do about it?
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): Let's be very clear on a couple of things. One, there's not a national emergency that would meet the test that would allow for the president to make such a declaration in this case. If you look at border crossings and apprehensions at the border, we have border crossings that are about a fifth of where they were going back to 2000. We have the lowest amount of apprehensions that we have had in four decades. So the president is just not telling the truth when it comes to there being a case to be made for a national emergency to be declared.
And then what also is important is that the president doesn't have the power of the purse. He can't just decide that he doesn't like the way Congress has appropriated the funds in an appropriations act that has been signed into law. So because we are not doing what he wants, he thinks he can just declare a national emergency and take the money from military construction projects that are already under funded. Kate, we have billions of dollars in back log, in projects that need to be have money spent on them to make sure that we have the most pristine, best-funded, top-notched military facilities in the world. And the president would deprive and starve the members of our military if he takes this act. And it would be unconstitutional and mired in court. That can be taken to the bank.
BOLDUAN: Then if you are headed to the bank, I want to ask you, would you be spearheading a legal challenge to the president for using this money for the wall?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Most definitely. I can tell you that, as the chair of the subcommittee that appropriates funds for our military, I would absolutely, along with my colleagues, challenge the president's ability to make such a declaration. It is not legal, not in compliance with the National Emergency Act that he would be attempting to utilize, and there's certainly not a national emergency. These is more actions of a dictator. The president, on the one hand, has been declaring his opposition to the actions of a dictator in Venezuela at the same time that he is suggesting that he would act like one here in the United States.