The Constitution should trump the President

By: The Republican Women for Progress Editorial Board

A few weeks ago, despite enormous political pressure, 12 Republican Senators broke with the party and voted in favor of a resolution of disapproval of President Trump’s national emergency declaration. We would like to thank these Senators and the 13 Republican representatives who stand together in putting country over party.

This article is not a statement on the issue of security along our southern border; instead, it is a sincere expression of appreciation for the bravery these Members of Congress have shown by upholding the independent authority of the Legislative branch under the Constitution in the face of political expediency. These Republicans are supporting the bedrock principle of separation of powers and representative government, despite the enormous political pressure to support the president at all costs.

Our government is currently facing challenges on issues related to every aspect of life in this country. Whether or not the situation at the southern border rises to the level of “crisis” has been hotly debated. We are not writing to join this debate. Rather, we are writing to express our concern about the state of the Republican Party, and our democracy more generally.

Beyond any specific policy issue, whether border security, climate change, gun control, health care, or infrastructure, we need to address our crisis of governance. Without a recognized and respected procedure for governance, we cannot hope to solve any of these issues. Our founders bequeathed us a remarkable and unique system for forging compromise among one of the largest and most diverse populations on the planet. Both parties have been chipping away at this system for short-term party gains for several decades.

Declaring a state of national emergency is the natural progression from governing by Executive Order. During the Obama Administration, both the Republican Party as a whole and Republican Members of Congress were highly critical of the reliance on Executive Order to enact policy initiatives. The criticism was fair. Lasting public policy is crafted and enacted through the legislative process, not through an order that can be undone as soon as a new presidential administration comes to power.

However, the Republican Party is now noticeably silent or openly supportive of the Trump Administration’s reliance on Executive authority. For reference, over the same time period, President Obama signed 79 Executive Orders to President Trump’s 98. Governance through Executive Order is not only irresponsible, but also disregards the co-equal role of Congress in setting and enacting public policy. President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency after failing to work with Congress to allocate the funding for border security usurps the authority bequeathed on Congress by the Constitution to control the purse.

The power of the president to declare a national emergency is enumerated within the Constitution, with further parameters established in subsequent legislation. Nothing within historical precedents for national emergencies, nor the current data related to our southern border, supports President Trump’s declaration. This is further underscored by his own admission that he declared the emergency simply for expediency. The Administration plans to supersede Congressional authority by reallocating funds already appropriated to other projects by Congress.

In this situation, our nation is confronted with the reality that the sitting president is willing to set the dangerous precedent of declaring a pet project an emergency based not on fact, but on a subjective and personally held opinion. The attempt to seize these funds to “build a wall” is solely meant to gin up Trump’s base and opens the door for future presidents to declare any myriad of issues national emergencies. It is not only an inappropriate expression of executive authority that infringes on the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, but also sets a precedent ripe for abuse in the future.

Our nation continues to exist in a state of radical political tribalism, where breaking with your party is tantamount to being a double agent. There is extreme political pressure to stay in line with the party, even if it makes you a hypocrite based on your past statements and record. We do not often take the time to thank our elected officials for making tough choices and voting for what is right, rather than what is politically expedient.

Today, we’d like to thank these Republican Members of Congress for voting to maintain our co-equal branches of government and demanding Trump act as president — not like the dictators he so admires. These Republicans understand how the Constitution’s demand for checks and balances supersedes the political scruples of any individual administration, despite the suffocating pressure to obey that administration’s every whim.

They are sure to be called traitors, RINOs (Republican In Name Only), Democrats, socialists, and any other insult Trump supporters can think of, but today we want them to know there are still Republicans who appreciate the courage it takes to put our country before our party.

From Republican Women for Progress — thank you.

House of Representatives

Justin Amash (MI-3)

Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1)

Mike Gallagher (WI-8)

Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3)

Will Hurd (TX-23)

Dusty Johnson (SD-AL)

Thomas Massie (KY-4)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5)

Francis Rooney (FL-19)

Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5)

Elise Stefanik (NY-21)

Fred Upton (MI-6)

Greg Walden (OR-2)


Lamar Alexander (TN)

Roy Blunt (MO)

Susan Collins (ME)

Mike Lee (UT)

Jerry Moran (KS)

Lisa Murkowski (AK)

Rand Paul (KY)

Rob Portman (OH)

Mitt Romney (UT)

Marco Rubio (FL)

Pat Toomey (PA)

Roger Wicker (MS)


Republican Women for Progress (RWFP) is a grassroots policy organization created to: ensure the full spectrum of Republican women’s voices are represented in the media, develop and support the pipeline of Republican women who want to lead and run for office, and refocus the GOP on proper governance and policy.



Republican Women for Progress (RWFP) is a grassroots policy organization providing a voice to Republican women through thought leadership, connecting women on the state and national level, and serving as a clearinghouse for educational and training opportunities.

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Republican Women for Progress

We believe that GOP women deserve to speak up, not stand aside. That we need to connect better, smarter. That being engaged in politics is mission critical.