Throughout Wednesday, we saw one major news headline after another which stated or implied that Donald Trump was sending the National Guard to the border between the United States and Mexico, in response to what he insists is a worsening immigration and crime problem. This move was seen as controversial and perhaps even an attempt on Trump’s part at inciting border violence. But the facts don’t exactly line up with the claim that Trump is sending the National Guard to the border.
Here’s how CNN International characterized Donald Trump’s move: “The White House announces that President Donald Trump has signed the presidential memorandum for sending National Guard troops on assignment to the southern border.” However, Congressman Ted Lieu, who is a U.S. military veteran, responded to CNN’s characterization and explained that Trump’s memorandum doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means.
Congressman Lieu spelled it out in this manner: “Proclamation by Donald Trump doesn’t actually send National Guard troops to the border. Because POTUS is using Title 32 authority — instead of federalizing the Guard under Title 10 — this is a REQUEST for state Governors to send troops. That means [California Governor Jerry Brown] can say no.” In other words, Trump isn’t sending the National Guard to the border. So what’s he trying to accomplish here?
Our guess is that Donald Trump is trying to put Governor Jerry Brown in the position of having to refuse the absurd request, so that Trump can then claim Brown is refusing to help with the supposed border problem. Trump has recently begun attacking Brown via Twitter over immigration. But when it comes to the claim that Trump is sending the National Guard to the Mexican border, we have to fact check that as being false. Whatever Trump is up to here, he’s not actually dispatching the National Guard. He has the power to do that, but he’s declined to do so.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report