Florida reacts to Trump’s national emergency on border security

Members of Congress are sharply divided on the president’s declaration. One called it a ‘blatant attempt to circumvent Congress,' another said it’s ‘a reasoned, measured approach’
President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump gestures while speaking during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Published Feb. 15, 2019|Updated Feb. 15, 2019

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency at the southern border and said he plans to divert $8 billion to build a barrier and “the wall” between the United States and Mexico.

The legality of the maneuver is likely to be challenged immediately, and Trump indicated he expects as much. Congress can also vote on a “resolution of termination” that would effectively end the emergency status.

Response to Trump’s announcement from Florida’s Congressional delegation has been mixed, with Democrats overwhelmingly against it. Some Republicans have voiced concern about constitutional over reach — the most notable being Sen. Marco Rubio — while others have been quiet so far on the decision.

Here’s the reaction so far from Florida’s members of Congress.

Sen. Marco Rubio

“We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution. Today’s national emergency is border security. But a future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal. I will wait to see what statutory or constitutional power the President relies on to justify such a declaration before making any definitive statement. But I am skeptical it will be something I can support.”

Sen. Rick Scott

“I applaud the President’s decision to put the safety of our country first and use his authority to secure our border. This is a reasoned, measured approach to fulfill his duty as Commander in Chief and keep our country safe, and I appreciate that he kept his word to not repurpose funds designated for disaster relief funding for Florida or Puerto Rico, which I’ve discussed with him at length. I look forwarding to working with him as Florida continues to rebuild following multiple devastating hurricanes.”

Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg

“The President’s decision to declare a national emergency and take money from our military to pay for a border wall expansion is simply unconstitutional. First, we were promised Mexico would pay for the wall. That didn’t happen. Next, he shut down the government – ending up with the same deal Congress presented him in December.

“The Judiciary will ultimately rule on this latest poorly considered strategy.”

Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

“President Trump could not convince Mexico to build his wall as he promised, so he turned to the American taxpayers to pay billions of dollars for it and then shut down the government when he did not get his way. A bipartisan majority in Congress also rejected funding for the ineffective and wasteful border wall.

“As the Representative for MacDill Air Force Base and the brave men and women who serve there, I am furious that President Trump is diverting over $3.6 Billion in military construction resources – resources that should be used to enhance our military readiness, improve base housing and truly safeguard our national security. It is wrong for President Trump to steal funds that are used to support America’s military service members.”

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover

“Rep. Spano looks forward to reviewing the final text of the emergency declaration to determine where the funding will be redirected from. Like the President, he agrees with the need to secure our borders in order to keep our communities safe, while at the same time properly addressing the humanitarian crisis on our southern border.”

Soto, an Orlando Democrat, added in a statement that he would vote for a resolution to terminate the emergency declaration.

Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Clermont

“President Trump is taking his responsibility seriously and using the power given to him by Federal Law in Title 10 United States Code Section 2808 and Title 10 United States Code Section 284 to protect our country. The declaration of national emergency was not my preferred route, as I would like to see a more collaborative approach between the Executive and Legislative branches, but I believe the President stands on solid legal ground. I hope this causes my congressional colleagues to reflect on the role of the Executive branch and how much congressional authority Congress has given away in decades past.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach

“I’m proud of our President for boldly declaring he will not allow politics to stand in the way of the United States’ national security interests. We are not a nation without borders, and the executive decision made by President Trump today exemplifies his commitment to the safety of American citizens. With this Executive Action, President Trump fulfilled his promise to address the crisis on our southern border and protect our country from drugs, human trafficking, and criminally violent illegal aliens. I’m proud to support him in this decision."