One element of the political posturing around the issue of President Donald Trump’s new zero tolerance policy at the southern border, which has resulted in the side effect of separating families in accordance with past court decisions, is that some Governors are withdrawing their state’s National Guard troops from border duty and vowing not to send any if asked by the Trump administration.
This article from CNN sums up the stunt:
(CNN)Several governors across the country are canceling the deployment of their National Guard troops near the US-Mexico border in response to the Trump administration’s practice of separating immigrant families.
And, in a symbolic gesture, governors who have not yet sent troops to the border are pledging to withhold resources.
I checked in with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum about this issue, and he remains committed to sending North Dakota troops to the border if called upon by President Trump.
“The North Dakota National Guard currently has no one deployed to the southern border and has not received a request for assistance,” Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki told me when I inquired about any current deployments.
“We remain committed to assisting with security on our southern border if requested,” Governor Burgum said in a statement responding to my inquiry about any future deployments. “We appreciate yesterday’s action to keep families together and urge Congress to strengthen border security,” he added.
I find this situation deeply troubling. If we’re now using the National Guard to send political messages, can we expect in the future that Democratic Presidents only receive assistance from blue states? And that Republicans only receive assistance from red states?
Denying the President troops because he intends to use them to do something illegal is one thing. But denying the President troops because his mission is merely controversial?
That’s deeply troubling, yet probably the status quo going forward.
UPDATE: A reader sends along a link to this Supreme Court case from the Reagan era in which the right of the President to federalize troops over the objections of a governor was upheld. I wonder if the Trump administration wouldn’t be successful if they pushed this issue to the courts.