Exclusive – Tom McClintock: Trump Must Declare National Emergency to Build Wall; Pelosi Is ‘Not Even Pretending’ to Negotiate

Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) told hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak during an interview on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Tonight on Thursday that President Donald Trump should use presidential emergency powers to “build the wall,” describing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as “not even pretending to be negotiating in good faith.”

Pollak invited McClintock’s comment on the “state of play” on Capitol Hill regarding ongoing political strife related to border security.

Democrats oppose measures to block illegal immigration, said McClintock.


“It’s very clear to me the Democrats have never been serious about border security,” McClintock stated. “They say they are, but you can’t point to a single border security measure that they have actually supported recently. You can’t say that you are opposed to illegal immigration while you are advocating providing a huge range of services for illegal immigrants, ranging from health care and legal counseling to education and housing, all at taxpayer expense.”

McClintock continued, “You can’t say you want to discourage illegal immigration while you’re busy rewarding those who illegally immigrate. So I think we’re going to see the same kind of obstructionism over these next three weeks that we saw during the shutdown, and at the end of that time, my strong advice to the president is to take the legal authority that he has to reprogram unobligated military construction funds and put them to use securing our borders. I can’t think of anything more important to national defense than the defense of our southern border.”

Mansour asked, “You think that he should, in fact, use his authority to declare this a national emergency? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Yes,” replied McClintock. “In fact, there are currently 31 declared national emergencies under the provisions of that act. So this would be number 32. It’s hardly unprecedented, and unlike so many of the other declared emergencies, this one directly affects the integrity of our own borders, not the borders of Iraq or some other country, but our own country.”

Mansour asked if presidential power would be dangerously expanded via precedent in the event Trump used executive presidential emergency powers towards building a southern border wall.

McClintock answered, “Let me ask you this question: when have leftists ever relied on precedent to expand their power? They make it up as they go along. Barack Obama wrote DACA clearly out of thin air with no statutory authority. This is an authority that the president has had since 1976, granted to him by the Congress to reprogram already-appropriated military construction funds if he believes there is a higher national security interest.”

McClintock went on. “I don’t worry about activists saying this is some precedent for the future. The fact is they would claim any pretext as pretext for expanding their power. That’s what they do. It’s in their nature.”

McClintock added, “The other thing you’re hearing all the time is, ‘Oh, well, if he went this route, they’d just block it in the courts.’ Well, anything he tries to do to secure our borders, they’re going to try to block in the courts. The good news on that front is we have a Supreme Court that stands by the law, and the law is very clear on this subject.”

McClintock remarked, “[Donald Trump] is also talking about a law that Congress passed that is on the books that gives him the authority as commander-in-chief to reprogram non-obligated military construction funds for the defense of our country.”

The status quo of illegal immigration amounts to a legitimate national security emergency, determined McClintock.

“Look at what’s going on on our southern border today,” advised McClintock. “We’ve got between 16 and 29 million people who are already living illegally in the United States. It’s costing American taxpayers well over $100,000,000 a year to support this population. We have 60,000 more illegally crossing our border every month. We now have three caravans. One is numbering over 12,000 individuals who are heading toward our border with the declared and avowed intention of violating the integrity of our borders.”

McClintock reflected on Americans victimized by illegal aliens.

“Go back to 2017, which is the last year we have full figures for. Illegal aliens murdered 1,800 Americans,” McClintock said. “They violently assaulted 48,000 more. Not one of those crimes should have occurred because not one of those criminals should be in our country to begin with. Now, if that is not a national security crisis, I don’t know what is, and that’s before we begin touching on any of the sex trafficking or drug trafficking going on across our borders.”

Mansour asked about California’s “Motor Voter” registration program, a state-run operation that automatically registers driver’s licensees on voter rolls to “make it easier for more people to vote.”

McClintock replied, “Understand what that system is. California now gives driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. When you get your driver’s license in California, you’re automatically registered to vote. They even changed the rules so that you cannot prosecute someone who has voted illegally unless you can prove that they knew that it was illegal to vote.”

McClintock added, “I’m convinced that this is quite deliberate, and nobody knows how many illegal immigrants actually voted in this election, but it’s a lot more, I think, than [what] they’re claiming.”

McClintock went on, “Don’t forget that every illegal vote that is cast cancels out the legal vote of an American citizen, and the Democrats don’t care. … These claims that they care about border security are simply bogus. Long ago, they stopped calling illegal immigration what it is — illegal.”

McClintock said, “You can hear a lot of them advocating abolishing the agencies that defend our border, like ICE. They’ve enacted sanctuary laws in states like California that protect dangerous criminal aliens from deportation, and they’ve opposed everything from mandatory employment verification to hold employers accountable for hiring illegals to their opposition to visa trafficking of foreign nationals entering our country.”

The “radical left” opposes American sovereignty, assessed McClintock.

“I am convinced that the radical left, as part of their agenda, is to simply tear down our borders,” McClintock determined. “When we stop enforcing our immigration laws, our borders become meaningless, and we cease to be a country. We just become this vast international territory between Canada and Mexico, both of which, by the way, have immigration laws and borders that they actually enforce.”

Mansour asked if Pelosi is negotiating with Trump and Republicans “in good faith.”

“She’s not even pretending to be negotiating in good faith,” responded McClintock. “Remember, during the shutdown, the president made one offer after another. He reduced his overall funding request. He agreed to redesign the wall to meet some of the objections that they were making. He agreed to nearly $1,000,000 of humanitarian aid on top of all of this, and the Democrats wouldn’t even consider his concessions. They would not give him a proposal of their own.”

McClintock continued, “When he asked Nancy Pelosi, ‘If I open up the government tomorrow, can we then negotiate for border walls?’ and, as I recall, she offered one dollar for the security of our southern border.”

McClintock recalled, “He invited the Democratic freshmen to come to the White House to sit down and talk about resolving the issue, and they wouldn’t even go to the White House to talk to him. Now, they had plenty of time to go off to Puerto Rico and party with a hundred lobbyists during the shutdown, but they couldn’t take an hour out of their otherwise busy schedules to go to the White House at the president’s invitation and request to resolve this impasse. That tells you where they are.”

Pollak asked about possible partisan compromises to resolve ongoing political gridlock.

“I can’t predict the future, but I’ll tell you, I would be very, very surprised,” speculated McClintock.

McClintock advised Trump to use an ultimatum in pressuring Democrats to negotiate on border wall funding and broader border security issues.

“I think what the president needs to do is make it very clear: ‘Give me three weeks. If you’re serious about it, we will sit down and negotiate a compromise. You want DACA. We want our border secured. Once our borders are secured, we’ll agree to legalize the DACA recipients. But if we can’t come to an agreement in three weeks, I’m going to build the wall under the authority I already have. There will be no compromises. I’ll do it exactly the way it needs to be done. And if you want to talk about DACA or any other concessions, you’re the ones now that are going to have to make compromises.’ I think that puts him in a very strong position. But I am not the least bit optimistic that the Democrats are going to budge on this.”

McClintock concluded, “I think, at this juncture, his only responsible course is to use his authority and build the wall.”

A 2017-published list of 28 active national emergencies included the following, in chronological order:

1. Blocking Iranian Government Property (Nov. 14, 1979)
2. Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (Nov. 14, 1994)
3. Prohibiting Transactions with Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process (Jan. 23, 1995)
4. Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources (Mar. 15, 1995)
5. Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers (Oct. 21, 1995)
6. Regulations of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels with Respect to Cuba (Mar. 1, 1996)
7. Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan (Nov. 3, 1997)
8. Blocking Property of Persons Who Threaten International Stabilization Efforts in the Western Balkans (Jun. 26, 2001)
9. Continuation of Export Control Regulations (Aug. 17, 2001)
10. Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks (Sept. 14, 2001)
11. Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Persons who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism (Sept. 23, 2001)
12. Blocking Property of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe (Mar. 6, 2003)
13. Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq has an Interest (May 22, 2003)
14. Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting the Export of Certain Goods to Syria (May 11, 2004)
15. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Belarus (Jun. 16, 2006)
16. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Oct. 27, 2006)
17. Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions (Aug. 1, 2007)
18. Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea and North Korean Nationals (Jun. 26, 2008)
19. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia (Apr. 12, 2010)
20. Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya (Feb. 25, 2011)
21. Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations (Jul. 25, 2011)
22. Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen (May 16, 2012)
23. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine (Mar. 6, 2014)
24. Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to South Sudan (Apr. 3, 2014)
25. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic (May 12, 2014)
26. Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela (Mar. 9, 2015)
27. Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities (Apr. 1, 2015)
28. Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Burundi (Nov. 23, 2015)

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