DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has denounced Donald Trump’s decision Friday to declare a national emergency so the president can find funds to build a southern border wall.
The Democratic governor issued a Friday statement calling Trump’s plan to bypass Congress to spend more money on border barriers “an astonishing abuse of power.”
“While the president tries to separate us, Coloradans, and my administration, will continue to unite by building a better Colorado for all,” Polis said.
He followed that statement with a tweet saying Trump “declared a wasteful wall be built to end an emergency that only exists in his ego.”
Congress has given Trump about $1.4 billion for border barriers, well below the $5.7 billion Trump has insisted he needed to build a wall.
Trump’s move has been condemned by Democrats and elicited threats of lawsuits from Democratic state attorneys general and others who might lose federal money or say Trump is abusing his authority. In a tweet, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser vowed to “fight this action with every tool at our disposal.”
At the White House Friday, Trump insisted that “we have an invasion of drugs, we have an invasion of gangs” that he deemed “unacceptable.” Trump said he will use executive action to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for to build a wall, the central promise of his 2016 campaign.
Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn insisted Friday that Trump “was elected in no small part because he spoke to the frustrations of the majority of Americans who support better border security and control of our national sovereignty.” But he urged Trump not to divert funds from military construction, saying such a move “will have serious consequences for our military readiness.”
During the partial federal government shutdown triggered over differences in border security funding, Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet last month denounced Trump, saying he “wants $5 billion to build some antiquated medieval wall that he said Mexico would pay for. This is a joke.”
A recent Associated Press Fact Check of Trump’s border wall claims found that most drugs are smuggled through official border crossings and that research challenges an assumption that people in the country illegally drive up violent crime.