Trump's 2014 comments criticising Obama for taking executive action 'because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress' are coming back to haunt him

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump
  • Several 2014 remarks from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence resurfaced on Friday in the wake of Trump’s national emergency declaration to secure funding for his border wall.
  • One tweet criticised former President Barack Obama for taking executive action to protect unauthorised immigrants. Trump accused Obama of being “unable to negotiate w/ Congress.”
  • A number of critics called their past remarks hypocritical, since the Trump administration is now similarly bypassing Congress by taking executive action.

Critics accused President Donald Trump of hypocrisy on Friday, after a newly resurfaced tweet showed that he criticised former President Barack Obama for taking executive action after he was “unable to negotiate w/ Congress.”

In 2014, after Obama signed the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program to protect the unauthorised immigrant parents of US-born children, Trump tweeted that Republicans “must not allow President Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit.”

Read more: Trump says he ‘didn’t need to’ declare national emergency but wants to get the border wall ‘done faster’

Trump also vented at length on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” about Obama’s move, calling it “unconstitutional” and potentially impeachable. CNN’s KFile first reported on the footage on Friday.

“Now he has to use executive action and this is a very, very dangerous thing that should be overwritten easily by the Supreme Court,” Trump said. “So we’re looking now at a situation, it should absolutely not pass muster in terms of constitutionality, but it depends on what these justices do.”

The 2014 remarks took on a new meaning on Friday, after Trump himself took executive action and declared a national emergency so he could bypass Congress and secure funding for his border wall.

‘Overturn immigration law with the stroke of a pen’

The declaration came after months of negotiations with Congress, and even a 35-day government shutdown.

Yet Democrats refused to yield on the wall funding, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers ultimately produced a spending bill that fell far short of providing the $US5.7 billion Trump had demanded.

Instead, the bill offered $US1.375 billion for new fencing, and stipulated that the fencing had to use existing designs, and couldn’t use concrete or any of Trump’s prototype designs.

Eager to avoid another shutdown, Trump signed the bill on Friday and declared the national emergency. Senior administration officials told reporters in a conference call that Trump would take $US6 billion from Title 10 funding and $US600 million from the Treasury’s forfeiture fund.

Already, the declaration has prompted at least one lawsuit.

Trump’s old comments weren’t the only ones to resurface on Friday. Vice President Mike Pence was also criticised for his previous comments on Obama’s 2014 executive action.

Read more: Trump will declare a national emergency to build his border wall. Here’s what could happen next.

C-SPAN footage tweeted by the Republican strategist Bill Kristol showed Pence, who was then the governor of Indiana, urging Obama to work with Republican lawmakers to find “genuine common ground” rather than taking executive action to bypass Congress.

“I think it would be a profound mistake for the President of the United States to overturn immigration law with the stroke of a pen. Issues of this magnitude should always be resolved with the consent of the governed,” Pence said. “Signing an executive order, giving a speech, barnstorming around the country defending that executive order is not leadership.”

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