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You Can’t Stop a Power Grab by Fact Checking It

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“We had a little disappointment for the first year and a half. People that should have stepped up did not step up,” Donald Trump complained in the Rose Garden on Friday. Trump spoke of Congress, which had sent him a spending bill that would prevent a second government shutdown but lacked the full funds he’d demanded for his border wall. As press and members of the administration looked on, he declared a national emergency to bring his precious steel border fence to life. As he did so, he repeated a set of familiar lies: Other nations just aren’t sending us their best. Immigrants are violent. A border wall would even help stop the drug crisis, he insisted, just as he’s insisted over and over in the past.

Trump’s lies are his stock-in-trade, and they weren’t the most noteworthy aspects of Friday’s announcement. That dubious distinction belongs instead to his decision to declare a national emergency. Though it’s not yet clear how meaningful the declaration will prove to be, it’s a sweeping gesture that members of both major parties have criticized in the press as a potential violation of the Constitution.

Confronted with this attempted power grab, journalists assembled for the president’s speech responded by challenging him on his facts. When Playboy’s Brian Karem and CNN’s Jim Acosta directly addressed the gap between Trump’s rhetoric and reality, Trump reacted as he usually does in........

© Daily Intelligencer