After announcing his plans to vote to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over the weekend, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is now explaining his decision.
In an op-ed for Fox News, the senator declared his support for the president but lamented that he would “lose [his] political soul” if he were to vote to uphold the emergency declaration at the border due to his past criticism of former President Barack Obama’s immigration executive orders.
“In September of 2014, I had these words to say: The president acts like he’s a king. He ignores the Constitution. He arrogantly says, ‘If Congress will not act, then I must,'” Paul wrote before pointing out that President Trump agreed with him at the time. “I would literally lose my political soul if I decided to treat President Trump different than President Obama.”
He then put his decision bluntly, outlining his Constitutional concerns:
“I support President Trump. I supported his fight to get funding for the wall from Republicans and Democrats alike, and I share his view that we need more and better border security. However, I cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding, so I will be voting to disapprove of his declaration when it comes before the Senate. Every single Republican I know decried President Obama’s use of executive power to legislate. We were right then. But the only way to be an honest officeholder is to stand up for the same principles no matter who is in power.”
Paul even went so far as to predict that the Supreme Court — including “the president’s own picks” — would eventually strike down the national emergency declaration before saying, “I look forward to working for a constitutional way to deal with our border security issue.”
The senator’s op-ed comes just after he announced his intention to vote in favor of a resolution to block the emergency, as IJR Red reported. Paul joins Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Thom Tillis (R-Tenn.), making it likely that the bill will pass in the Senate after already having passed in the House.
The passage would force President Trump to issue his first veto — something he’s already promised he’s prepared to do.
President Trump on resolution blocking his national emergency: "Will I veto it? 100%. 100%. And I don't think it survives a veto. We have too many smart people that want border security so I can't imagine it could survive a veto. But I will veto it. Yes." https://t.co/u44qQ6cAI5 pic.twitter.com/wMMF6rY3wr
— The Hill (@thehill) February 23, 2019
“On the wall? Will I veto it? One-hundred percent,” he told reporters last week. “One-hundred percent, and I don’t think it survives a veto. We have too many smart people that want border security, so I can’t imagine that it could survive a veto.”