President Donald Trump on Friday admitted that he “didn’t need to” declare a national emergency for his long-promised border wall, and merely wanted to “do it much faster” to please his political base.
A number of legal experts — including George Conway, husband of top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway — immediately noted on Twitter that those words could easily be used against him in the likely legal battle over his questionable claim to a national emergency.
Hours after Trump’s announcement, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced a lawsuit against the Department of Justice “because the government has so far failed” to explain why the wall could be considered a national emergency.
Trump openly acknowledged the possibility of lawsuits during his remarks Friday, predicting that he would lose in the lower courts.
The ACLU, which has frequently sued Trump and his administration, announced Friday it would file a lawsuit “early next week” challenging Trump’s decision.
“This is a patently illegal power grab that hurts American communities and flouts the checks and balances that are hallmarks of our democracy,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said.
Omar Jadwat, the director of ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project, urged the president to “keep talking” in a tweet posted during Trump’s remarks.
Following his announcement Friday, Trump is heading to his golf club in Florida for the weekend, further underscoring the dubious nature of his “national emergency.”
This story has been updated to note lawsuits from CREW and the ACLU.