President Donald Trump has said he considers declaring a national emergency as one option available to him as he tries to obtain funding for his long-promised wall on the southern U.S. border.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reportedly warned the president that making such a move would fracture the Republican Party and likely result in a vote to overrule him, according to The New York Times.
Anxiety over the damage being inflicted on the party is growing. Last week, in a one-on-one meeting with the president, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, reportedly warned Mr. Trump that declaring a national emergency to build his wall would almost certainly spark a rebellion within his party — and a vote to overrule him. House and Senate negotiators have been moving toward a bipartisan agreement as early as Friday to keep the government funded after Feb. 15 — with or without the president’s support.
Suspicion appears to be growing that Trump will follow through with the declaration, particularly after he has said that any negotiations that fail to include full funding for his wall would be “a waste of time.”
McConnell said last month that he hopes the president “doesn’t go down that path” of declaring a national emergency to secure funding, also saying he doesn’t “think much” of the idea.
Mr. McConnell, according to three people familiar with his thinking, has grown increasingly frustrated with the White House in recent days, telling associates that he thinks members of the president’s staff have failed to adequately brief him on the legislative and political perils of moving ahead with a disaster declaration.
During his White House meeting, disclosed by The Washington Post, Mr. McConnell predicted that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have the House immediately pass a “resolution of disapproval” attempting to block him from using existing funding for the wall.
Any senator from either party could then demand a vote, because the resolution would be deemed “privileged.” Mr. McConnell told Mr. Trump that he would have no choice but to schedule a floor vote on the measure within 15 days, and Republican aides have estimated that between three and 10 Republicans would side with the chamber’s Democrats against Mr. Trump.