COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — On President’s Day, a holiday meant to honor those who served as Commander in Chief, groups all across the nation took to the streets against President Donald Trump and his declared state of emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The emergency declaration to divert money from disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico and California to build the border wall is being challenged on multiple fronts. The American Civil Liberties Union and a number of states and organizations are promising a court battle, and Congress appears to be gearing up to pass legislation to thwart the president’s declaration.
Protesters gathered outside the White House on Monday to rally against the declaration.
“It is completely ridiculous,” protester Lisa Cookson said. “I mean, you can see that this is not needed.”
“This is our country,” Ann Fondi, another protester, said. “This is not what America is about.”
Fondi said Trump has gone too far by going around Congress to build his long-promised border wall.
“Congress has already decided where money gets appropriated,” she said. “The president can’t just decide because he didn’t get what he wanted.”
Trump continues to say there’s a “crisis” along the southern border, alleging “invasions” of drugs, gangs and people.
However, the protesters don’t agree with the president’s claims and say the president is manufacturing a fake crisis.
“We reject that immediately and we demand Congress do the same,” Elizabeth Beavers said.
Congressional Democrats, like Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D), are vowing to fight the president on his emergency declaration.
“This declaration of a national emergency is an absolute sham and disgrace,” Blumenthal said. “It’s an abuse of power, a seizure of authority from the United States Congress.”
Congress has the power to pass a resolution to rescind the national emergency but the president could, and has said that he will, veto it. Blumenthal said the best chance to stop Trump is in court.
“The courts should act swiftly to strike down this declaration,” he said.
Several states are planning to sue Trump over the emergency declaration, and Trump said he is prepared to fight it out and thinks he will ultimately win.
NBC4 reached out to Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) for comment about the protests and Trump’s declaration, and his office sent the following reply:
“I agree with the president that we have a crisis on our southern border and that we need additional barriers and fencing … I would prefer we work together to find a legislative solution instead of declaring a national emergency.”
Portman’s statement made no mention of the protests on President’s Day or any feelings about the president’s decision to declare a national emergency.