While President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency on the southern border raised concerns on both the left and the right, one vocal border wall proponent decided to lay the blame for this negativity squarely on the media.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity decisively reaffirmed his support for the president on Friday by tearing into the “hate-Trump media” and lamenting how Democrats have tragically ignored the crisis at America’s southern border.
Blinded by Hatred
In his “Message to the Media” monologue, Hannity countered the media spin, promoted by journalists such as CNN’s Jim Acosta, that Trump “concocted” a national emergency to get his border wall.
“They’ve got blinders on, and they’ve got this prism through which they see Donald Trump — Lazy, overpaid people in the hate-trump media so blinded by their hatred and rage for Donald Trump,” Hannity said.
Contrary to claims of a manufactured crisis, Hannity cited statistics that painted a grim portrait of a border under attack. The Department of Homeland Security, for example, reported a 50 percent increase in apprehensions of gang members during the 2018 fiscal year, and a 122 percent jump in trafficking of the drug Fentanyl.
Hannity also cited a White House report that in 2017 and 2018 alone, ICE arrested 100,000 illegal immigrants for assault, 30,000 for sex crimes and 4,000 for homicides.
The debate over those homicides has taken a personal turn for Trump, who has met with families of murder victims and given them a voice while most of the media has opted to ignore them. When CNN’s Jim Acosta called on Trump to defend himself against the charge of “concocting a national emergency,” Trump shot back, “Ask these incredible women who lost their daughters and their sons. Ok? Because your question is a very political question. Because you have an agenda. You’re CNN. You’re fake news.”
While the media has intentionally downplayed the national security risk of a porous southern border, Hannity pointed out that it has excessively covered stories that have been proven false, such as the fake Russian dossier that was manufactured to suggest illegal collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.
Setting a Legal Precedent
In response to concerns that Trump’s national emergency declaration sets a bad legal precedent and is unconstitutional, Hannity spotlighted the history of this executive power.
Since the National Emergencies Act was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1976, a total of 58 national emergencies have been declared. Thirty-one of those emergencies are still in effect, and ten emergencies were declared by President Obama. While prior usage does not answer the Constitutional question or resolve the seeming incongruity with Trump’s previous criticisms of unilateral executive action, this does deflate the charge that his emergency declaration sets a significant precedent.
Furthermore, federal law specifically grants the president “construction authority in the event of a… national emergency,” and the power to build “roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”
By declaring a national emergency, the president can now unlock additional funds for the border wall, including $3.6 billion from the Department of Defense’s military construction account, $2.5 billion from the DoD’s drug interdiction program and $600 million from the Department of the Treasury’s drug forfeiture fund.