Not All Emergencies Need a 911 Call – “Sunday Political Brunch” - February 17, 2019


CHARLESTON, W. Va. – President Trump has declared a national emergency at the Southern Border with Mexico. This after the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) California, declined to give the Mr. Trump $5.7 billion dollars for a more complete border wall. There are winners and losers around. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Trump Response” – President Trump declared the state of emergency after Congress granted him $1.37 billion for his proposed border wall, after he requested $5.7 billion. That’s just 24-percent of his original request. To close the gap, Trump plans to redirect some funding from the Pentagon for the wall. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country,” President Trump said.

“Democrats Response” – Democratic leaders, not surprisingly, were dismayed. “This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed president, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Minority Leader, in a joint press release. Democrats are likely to file a lawsuit (and for an injunction in federal court) to stop any further wall construction. The argument is that Congress has the “power of the purse” and President Trump is violating the separation of powers spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. You can see this going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Glass: Half Empty, or Half Full?” – I interviewed Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) this week after President Trump agreed on a Congressional spending plan to keep the government open but settled for just $1.37 billion for the border wall this year. Capito, who helped negotiate the deal, spun it as a win for Trump. "And what we have here is very robust funding for the border wall. We also have robust funding for our border patrol agents, to hire more, and, also for the technology. I think this is a win. It was painful to try to reach a negotiated settlement. So, nobody is exceedingly happy and getting everything that they want. But that's what you do. You try to meet the middle ground or the sweet spot," Senator Capito said.

“An Interesting Perspective” – As I have mentioned here often, I believe in a diverse media diet. My regular daily news consumption includes, NPR, several local and statewide media websites in West Virginia, my own company’s TV stations’ websites, and talk radio – including Rush Limbaugh. My goal is a wide variety of viewpoints. I thought Limbaugh’s take this week was spot on. Yes, the president only got a fraction of his funding, but partial border wall construction will be ongoing this year, and in the 2020 reelection year. There will likely be many news stories and lots of video of wall construction. No, President Trump did not get all he wanted, but he’ll have some powerful images of a promise partially kept in an election year.

“Advantage, All!” – Both political parties win in this latest compromise. Why? Well, there’s no government shutdown. The images of the Smithsonian Museums beings closed, or the fact that TSA workers at the airport and air traffic controllers were working without pay, is an unseemly picture. Yes, they all got back pay. But the video of government employees out of work, and agencies closed, dominated the headlines. By keeping the government open, both sides can debate the merits or demerits of the wall, without other distracting issues dominating the news coverage.

“The Carter Kiss” – Hey, on a lighter political note, Valentine’s Day occurred this past week.
Among the romantic couples, former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter. They’ve been married 73 years. They attended an Atlanta Hawks basketball game, and as luck would have it they were caught by the infamous “Kiss Camera” that pans the crowd for romantic couples, and suggests they kiss for a broadcast on the arena jumbotron TV. The Carters are good sports, and graciously obliged with a Valentine’s Day smooch to the delight of the crowd. Jimmy is 94 and Rosalynn is 91. God bless them!

What are your thoughts on the wall deal and the effort to prevent another government shutdown? Just click the comment button on this article or click the comment button at

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving all of West Virginia and its five surrounding states, including much of the Washington, D.C. television market.

© 2019 MarkCurtisMedia, LLC

Photo courtesy Getty Images

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