Gov. Jay Inslee Rejects Trump’s Emergency Declaration, Calls for One on Climate Change

By Melanie Arter | February 25, 2019 | 1:09pm EST
Washington state Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee (Screenshot)

( – Washington state Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee rejected President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, telling CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that there is no national security emergency at the border, but there is one on climate change.

“He ought to be responding to real emergencies like the forest fires. We just came from a meeting with the cabinet members asking for help with the federal government with their forest fires, and climate change is burning down our forests. That's an emergency where we ought to have the help of the federal government. We don't have it,” he said.

Inslee said his state so far has not joined 16 other states in suing the president over his emergency declaration to build the wall, but he will file suit “the moment that the administration jeopardizes any federal expenditure in our state.”

“And we feel good about our chances to succeed. We have done so. I'm proud to be the first governor to sue to stop the Muslim ban, and we are happy there-- of judicial system to rein in this president. Look, I think it is obviously the situation here. We do not have a national security emergency. Donald Trump has a political emergency,” the governor said.

“He was unable to get Mexico to pay for his wall. He does not have the support of either party and the entire U.S. Congress on a bipartisan basis have told him his wall is a colossal mistake,” Inslee added.


New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham – also a Democrat – said her state stands to lose $150 million by virtue of the president’s national declaration “for an emergency that doesn’t exist.”

“This doesn't make any sense, and it's completely inappropriate to a state like this,” she said.

“Governor Inslee, you just said though that you would be open to declaring a national emergency based on climate. So, how do you define when the president has the constitutional authority to declare an emergency if you say on the grounds of the border crisis as he deems it, it's unconstitutional,” host Margaret Brennan said.

Inslee said he believes the president’s action is “illegal and unconstitutional” and that “Republicans ought to stand up on their hind legs, because they took an oath to the Constitution, not to Donald Trump, and reverse this decision.”

“If that doesn’t happen,” he said, “we need the judicial system to reverse its decision, but ultimately, in responding to the climate change emergency, we need to work together – executive and legislative branch - but if there are new rules the Republicans have to understand that Democrats will play by whatever the rules are particularly when it comes to climate change.”

When asked whether a president should be able to declare a national emergency in pursuit of a policy goal, Inslee said, “Not if it is in clear contravention of the law passed by the United States Congress.

“There are provisions where emergencies require executive authority where Congress has not been able to act where they're out of town and they need emergency responses, but it clearly is a contravention of basic norms of American democracy for Congress to pass an appropriation bill, identify what is legal and illegal, have the president say he just disagrees with that and countermand the entire authority of the United States Congress,” he said.

Inslee said he could announce as soon as this week that he’s running for president. That aside, he said, “I've been pleased by what I have been hearing across the country, that people do want a president that will act on a real emergency, which is climate change. We're very proud of our New Mexico governor who's building a clean energy economy to respond of the real emergency which is climate change.”

Brennan noted that New Mexico residents signed a petition to impeach Lujan Grisham after the governor ordered the National Guard troops to return from the New Mexico border.

“Obviously, you're a border state governor. You see what's happening in your state. Over 36,000 people in your state signed a petition to impeach you after you made this call. So do you think that your constituents' concerns here are being heard?” Brennan asked.

“Well, let's talk about the folks who were impacted in the counties where we're seeing folks have to migrate because they can't do asylum for humanitarian issues. Every single elected official in that county is with us on making sure that we address the problems that they really have -- communications, road maintenance, making sure that we are providing health care and health emergency services, giving them law enforcement,” Lujan Grisham said.

“And, in fact, Congress did do that in both this appropriation bill and, quite frankly, Congress did,” she said. “It passed a DREAM Act before I was elected to Congress. There's been some meaningful immigration reform.

“There was meaningful bipartisan negotiation on the USA Act, but all that this administration said, unequivocally, unless they just get a wall they're not interested in any of those other policies, and it's really created huge burdens for states like mine to use evidence-based efforts to secure the border and to deal with real issues,” she added.


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