King Opposes Sending Troops To U.S. Southern Border To Build Wall

Jan 8, 2019

Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King says he doesn't support the sending troops to the southern U.S. border to build a wall.

King, an independent, told NPR's Rachel Martin that President Trump's Oval Office address scheduled for  Tuesday night might include the president's rationale for declaring a border emergency as a way of bypassing Congress in his quest for funding the project.

"He may declare a national emergency tonight and say we're going to do this through the military, and therefore we don't need the congressional appropriations, therefore we can sign these laws and put the government back to work," King said.

King said the courts could ultimately decide whether there's validity to the declaration of a national emergency.

The president will address the nation Tuesday evening. Democrats are demanding equal air time to address the president's position.

King also took issue with Trump's recent actions regarding Syria.

"Are you clear on the Trump administration's Syria policy?" Martin asked.

"No, are you?" King responded, laughing.

King has previously said he thinks Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria puts the U.S.'s Kurdish allies at risk. Trump originally said the U.S. would withdraw from the region immediately. Over the weekend, national security advisor John Bolton put some conditions on the withdrawal.

But King said if the administration goes through with its withdrawal plans, it would put an important American ally in the region - the Kurds - at risk.  He said removing American forces would also open the area to problematic influences from Russia and Iran.

"Iran is one of our rivals, adversaries in that region, so leaving the field to them in terms of Syria, I think was a strategic mistake," King said.

King said withdrawing from Syria would remove a moderating presence from the region.