Colorado Gov. Jared Polis doesn’t rule out legal action against Trump administration
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declined to rule out legal action against the Trump administration to halt the president’s declaration of an emergency to fund a wall on the southern border of the U.S.
“I believe that the president’s actions are illegal, and we’ll certainly explore any way that we can play in preventing this divisive and wasteful and false emergency,” he said.
Polis, a first term Democrat, was in Greeley on Friday morning at Jackson Elementary School, 2002 25th St., to tout his administration’s plans for all day kindergarten in Colorado. Polis answered a Tribune reporter’s question about the emergency declaration after taking a tour of the school.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that his state would sue the Trump administration over its declaration of a national emergency.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said he hasn’t yet decided whether to follow California’s lead.
“As attorney general, I am committed to defending the rule of law and addressing the improper use of the Emergency Powers Act to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border,” Weiser said in a statement after Trump’s announcement. “This includes analyzing how this declaration will affect Colorado and then deciding whether the state of Colorado should file a lawsuit or support one brought by others as a ‘friend of the court’.”
In his comments to The Tribune, Polis did not commit Colorado to any action, but he did not rule out a lawsuit either.
“Emergencies should be reserved for actual emergencies and they shouldn’t be reserved for just because you loose a legislative battle, and the president is welcome to advocate for his wall and he obviously is a supporter of that, but when he doesn’t win you can’t just pick up your toys and declare an emergency,” he said.
Congress has given Trump about $1.4 billion for border barriers, well below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he needed to build the more than 200 miles of border wall he wants this year.
Trump’s move has been condemned by Democrats and elicited threats of lawsuits from states and others who might lose federal money or say Trump is abusing his authority. The ACLU also has said it will pursue legal action against Trump.
For his part, Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, largely backed Trump’s move.
“Both Presidents Obama and Clinton made similar declarations in the past,” Buck said in a statement Thursday night, after the White House announced Trump would declare an emergency. “I respect his decision, and I expect to see military construction operations begin on the border, but I remain concerned about the precedent this sets for future presidents.”
Sen. Michael Bennet, conversely, supports the deal but not the president’s decision to declare a state of emergency.
“Whatever your politics, every American should worry about President Trump’s attempt to bypass the U.S. Congress by inventing a national emergency,” he said in a statement. “This is not how the world’s oldest democracy should conduct itself. The President should not declare a national emergency to fulfill a campaign promise that neither the Congress nor the American people support. This is a dangerous precedent that should concern everyone who cares about the health of our democracy and our institutions.”
Trump’s declaration of an emergency came after lawmakers voted Thursday to fund large swaths of the government and avoid a repeat of this winter’s debilitating five-week government shutdown.
Buck joined 108 other House Republicans in voting against the bill.
“Last night lawmakers in Washington reached a funding compromise, but it’s a bad deal for America,” he said in a statement. “… I voted against this bill because it fails to secure our border and continues spending like we are not already $22 trillion in debt.”
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said in an emailed statement he has long supported bipartisan border security and Congress is the proper forum to address such issues.
“I continue to believe that shutdowns are never the right answer and Congress is most appropriately situated to fund border security,” he said. “I’ve long supported immigration reform that includes more dollars for border security, and there has always been broad bipartisan support for such efforts.”
Democratic Congressional leaders vowed to block the emergency declaration.
“The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a joint statement.
In Congress, Democratic leaders could introduce a joint resolution of termination in a bid to end the emergency status. Neither Buck, Gardner nor Bennet said immediately how they would vote on such a measure.
“I’m currently reviewing the authorities the administration is using to declare a national emergency,” Gardner said in the statement.
— Tribune reporter Emily Wenger contributed to this report, as did the Associated Press.