Anti-Trump congressman comes out in support of president's emergency declaration
One of the more prominent anti-Trump Republicans on the Hill told Margaret Brennan of Face the Nation that he believes that the president's national emergency declaration is warranted.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, recently returned from deployment at the border with his Air National Guard unit, says that what he saw convinced him that the president is right to make the emergency declaration.
"I went down there kind of undecided," Kinzinger said on "Face the Nation" on CBS.
"I think if this was just an issue of immigration it wouldn't constitute a national emergency," he added. "But what I saw was really disturbing."
He recounted witnessing a woman "hunkered down in the desert" after the individuals who brought her across the border abandoned her, as well as another instance where his unit found 70 pounds of methamphetamine being transported into the country.
Kinzinger acknowledged that government statistics show border apprehensions are at the lowest levels in decades, but said what he saw firsthand showed drugs and human trafficking pose a significant problem.
As a result, Kinzinger said he won't vote to block President Trump's national emergency declaration to secure funds that have not been congressionally appropriated for his long-desired wall along the southern border.
"I wish this would've happened a different way," he said, but added that he believes Trump has the authority to declare an emergency.
"If this was just about immigration I would disagree," he said. "I do think this is a security threat. It's a security threat with the amount of drugs coming over the border and the human trafficking that I've seen."
Kinzinger refused to support Trump for president in 2016 and has been harshly critical of the president since then. He was primaried by the Club for Growth in 2018 but won with 78% of the vote. He is well respected on the Hill in military and national security matters, having served three tours in Iraq before entering Congress.
His words will not be heeded by Democrats. But there may be some Republican senators, thinking of opposing the president's declaration, who might be swayed by a member generally seen as knowledgeable and steady on security issues.