U.S. Rep. Greg Walden defended his opposition to President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall when confronted by an angry voter during his town hall meeting on Friday.
Walden spoke on several issues at the event held at the Eastern Oregon Trade & Event Center, but things got a little heated when the subject the President’s border wall came up.
Patricia Maier of Hermiston accused Walden of siding with Democrats who she said, as a party, want open borders.
Earlier this year, the president declared a national emergency at the southern border. The declaration allows him to take executive action and fund the building of a wall along the border, the central issue of his campaign and presidency.
Both the House and Senate passed a nonbinding resolution opposing the emergency declaration. Walden was one of the House Republicans to vote in opposition to the declaration.
Walden said Congress controls the purse strings and he was not going to vote to erode the separation of powers. He also said such a declaration sets a bad precedent. There may be a time when a liberal president declares climate change or gun violence a national emergency.
Maier wasn’t having any of it.
“The media and the Democrats hate Trump and his family,” she said, before accusing Walden of being among a minority of Republicans who have “turned on Trump.”
Walden countered by saying in 2018, he supported Trump in every House floor vote.
“But there are times when I disagree with the President,” he said, citing as another example the policy of separating children from their migrant parents who attempt to cross the border illegally.
He also said he doesn’t like the fact that the Trump Administration won’t say exactly where they will get the $5.7 billion he wants for construction of the wall.
The White House is being sued by a number of states and organizations over the emergency declaration. Maier asked Walden if he would resign if the courts back Trump.
“Of course not,” he said. “I stand before the voters every two years.” Walden asked the audience to raise their hands if they support the emergency declaration and about a dozen or so hands went up. He then asked folks to raise their hands if they oppose the emergency declaration and about two dozen hands went up.
“There you go,” said Walden.
Maier said Republicans need to “protect” the president and support him 100 percent on the border wall issue, including the emergency declaration.
Walden said there is a limit to how far he will go to support Trump.
“When we break the line and a president of either party can spend money for any purpose he or she wants, that’s a problem,” Walden said. “The separation of powers means a lot – a lot more than any one issue.”