Poll finds Trump shouldn’t declare emergency to build border wall
Two-thirds of Americans oppose President Trump declaring a national emergency if Congress doesn’t offer up the funds he wants to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, a CBS News poll released Sunday shows.
Most survey respondents — 73 percent — also said they want Trump to continue negotiating while keeping the government open, rather than forcing another shutdown when funding expires again in mid-February. A congressional committee is trying to reach an agreement on border security after the record 35-day government closing ended Jan. 25.
Trump has said in recent days that negotiations are a ‘‘waste of time’’ because Democrats don’t support wall funding, and he said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS that another government shutdown or declaring a national emergency remain viable options.
Republican lawmakers appearing on Sunday morning political shows pushed back on the prospect of an emergency declaration, saying they want the border funding issue to be settled through the normal appropriations process.
Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that while Trump has the power to declare an emergency, it would probably have to be decided by the courts.
‘‘What we’d like to do is, do it in the appropriation process,’’ Shelby said on CNN’s ‘‘State of the Union.’’
While 66 percent of Americans in the CBS survey oppose Trump declaring a national emergency to pay for a border wall, half of Republicans said he should demand funding, even if it means another government shutdown. Sixty-five percent of Democrats want their party to continue negotiating with the government open, the poll found.
The survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,596 US residents interviewed online Jan. 28-31. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.
Ex-Florida elections chief apologizes for blackface
Florida’s former top elections official on Sunday apologized for dressing in blackface as a Hurricane Katrina victim, more than a week after he resigned when photos of his Halloween costume were made public.
Michael Ertel, who was Florida’s secretary of state for less than three weeks, said in a personal Facebook post that what he did in 2005 was stupid and he is a better man than he was 14 years ago.
‘‘For those who have not received a personal apology yet — I’m sorry,’’ he wrote.
Ertel also said that someone made the photos public out of revenge. He didn’t elaborate. The Tallahassee Democrat first published the pictures.
Ertel didn’t respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Before being appointed Florida’s top elections official by Governor Ron DeSantis, he was the elections supervisor in Seminole County, a suburb of Orlando.
DeSantis announced last week that Circuit Judge Laurel Lee would replace Ertel.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is under pressure to resign after his medical school yearbook page was made public, showing a person in blackface and a person in Klan regalia.
Northam said he wasn’t either person in the photo.
Trump dismisses prospect of Pompeo leaving for Senate run
President Trump has dismissed the prospect of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaving his post to run for a Senate seat, even as Pompeo has signaled that he is open to the possibility.
In an interview with CBS’s ‘‘Face The Nation’’ slated to air Sunday ahead of the Super Bowl, Trump said Pompeo told him he was not leaving his current position and voiced confidence that he would not bolt to pursue a Senate seat in Kansas.
‘‘I asked him the question the other day. He says he’s absolutely not leaving. I don’t think he’d do that. And he doesn’t want to be lame duck,’’ said Trump.
The Washington Post reported last month that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell personally courted Pompeo to consider running in a telephone call, according to two people familiar with the conversation. Pompeo later confirmed the discussion.
In the interview with CBS, Trump said, ‘‘Well, he may have spoken to him, but I think he loves being secretary of state.’’
One of the people familiar with Pompeo’s phone call with McConnell said last month that Pompeo had not shut the door on the possibility of a run. In an interview later in January with Fox News Channel, Pompeo did not definitively rule it out.
Senate Republican leaders and their allies contend that Pompeo, who represented Kansas in the House before joining the Trump administration, could clear the Republican field in the contest for retiring GOP Senator Pat Roberts’s seat and spare the party a potentially divisive and costly primary.
While Kansas has been a reliably red state in statewide federal races, Democrats have made recent inroads there in state politics, most notably with a victory in the 2018 governor’s race.
The GOP faces a more difficult nationwide Senate map in 2020 than the party did in 2018. Senate Republicans are defending 22 seats. Democrats are defending 12.
Out-of-state money boosts Collins after Supreme Court vote
Maine Republican US Senator Susan Collins had the best fund-raising quarter of her career after she delivered a pivotal vote that helped seat Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The Bangor Daily News reports that after announcing her decision to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination during a speech on the Senate floor in early October, Collins raised $1.8 million in the final quarter of 2018.
The records show that of the nearly $900,000 Collins received from individual donors who contributed more than $200 to her campaign, just $19,000 came from individuals with Maine addresses.
‘‘We made an effort to have a strong quarter because we wanted to send the message that Senator Collins will be prepared to run a vigorous campaign in 2020,’’ said Amy Abbott, the deputy treasurer of Collins’s campaign committee. ‘‘We focused our fund-raising efforts nationally, which we typically do until the election year, which is why there were relatively fewer donations from Maine.’’
She said the campaign received ‘‘many contributions’’ from Maine that were under the $200 reporting threshold.
In the quarter before her Kavanaugh vote, Collins raised $140,000.
Collins’s decision to support Kavanaugh’s nomination led to a burst of donations for a potential 2020 challenger. So far no Democrats have emerged to challenge Collins next year.