WASHINGTON – Long before President Donald Trump considered declaring a national emergency to free up money for a wall along the southern border, his vice president criticized the idea of the White House making an end run around Congress.
Vice President Mike Pence, speaking on a Republican Governors Association panel in 2014, attacked the idea of using presidential powers to act unilaterally in the face of congressional opposition.
The then governor of Indiana said that “barnstorming around the country defending” such measures was “not leadership.” Leadership, he argued, came with negotiating and finding “common ground.”
Pence, in his comments, was specifically targeting former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and the executive orders he announced on Nov. 20, 2014, one day after the conference.
Although the positions were reversed, Obama was also frustrated by a lack of congressional action for what he viewed as a broken immigration system
VIDEO of Pence’s comments in 2014.
Obama’s order shielded up to 5 million immigrants from deportation and bolstered protections for “DREAMers,” people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children . Obama’s order followed an impasse with the Republicans in Congress, who during elections that month took control of both the Senate and House. The White House at the time said allow Obama’s orders were steps to “fix our broken immigration system.”
Republicans blasted Obama for acting unilaterally, and the Supreme Court ultimately struck down the plan in 2016.
Pence said Obama’s order was a “profound mistake” and said he didn’t believe that the president should be able to “overturn American immigration law with the stroke of a pen.”
“I believe that issues of this magnitude should always be resolved with the consent of the governed,” Pence said in 2014.
As the White House faces opposition from congressional Democrats, Pence seems to view the situation differently.
“The president believes he has an absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday. “The president is going to get this done one way or the other.”
Alyssa Farah, press secretary for Pence, said in a statement to USA TODAY about the 2014 comments that the president has “every right” to use his executive powers because Democrats have “refused to negotiate.”
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