I’m throwing this out here with full acknowledgement that I’m no constitutional expert. If I’m wrong about this, let me know in the comments.
It is the job of the president to execute the law.
In 2013, Obamacare was the law and Republicans tried to block enforcement of the law by defunding it. By presiding over a government shutdown, Obama temporarily suspended some government operations, but his goal was to enforce the law.
Also, Obama’s standoff didn’t last long enough to prevent government agents from carrying out their duties. We don’t know what Obama would have been done had the enforcement of law been seriously compromised.
Today, there is no law to build a wall. You can argue that the wall will make it easier to enforce existing law, but not everyone agrees about that. And there is a difference between making a law easier to enforce and fulfilling your duty to enforce it. I can ask my boss for a new workstation to make my job easier, but that’s not the same as doing my job.
Today’s standoff is seriously affecting our agencies’ ability to enforce the law. For example, as noted in ABC News’s website, “FBI and ICE agents are trying to track criminals and terrorists, but can’t pay informants, pay for travel or even cover investigative expenses.”
What we had before was the president trying to enforce the law, and shutting down the government for a little over two weeks in order to get funding to do so.
What we have now is the president trying to get funding for something that is not a law by holding the government in limbo for long enough to diminish the execution of the law.
It is Congress’s job to make law and it is the president’s job to execute it. This standoff doesn’t put Congress in violation of their constitutional duties, but it puts the president in violation of his.
Donald Trump is failing in his constitutional duties to enforce the law of the land. In doing so, he is violating the Constitution and breaking the law. Again.