At the Neshoba County Fair in August 2018, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker sought to assure a suspicious, conservative crowd of his allegiance to President Donald Trump's agenda.
Some in the crowd booed and waved Mississippi state flags at the white-haired Republican who, three years earlier, had drawn ire after he called for changing that flag to rid it of Confederate imagery. Instead of retreating from that view, Wicker spent his 2018 re-election campaign touting his pro-Trump voting record.
On Thursday, though, Mississippi's senior senator defied Trump on the president's most central campaign promise when he voted against Trump's national emergency declaration to build a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He joined 11 other Republicans and every Democratic senator to pass a resolution blocking the move.
Moments after the resolution passed, Trump sent out a one word tweet: "VETO!" he wrote.
In a statement Thursday, Wicker said he had held "very cordial conversations with the president" ahead of the vote and "strongly supports" building a wall, but believes "an emergency declaration was the wrong approach."
Trump's declaration raised concerns that it violates the Constitution's separation of powers, which grants Congress the power to appropriate funds—not the president. Trump's declaration would take funds that Congress appropriated for other purposes and use them to construct a wall the Democratic-controlled body did not approve.
Since Congress passed it in 1976, the National Emergency Act has typically been used in response to disease epidemics like swine flu or natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes or hurricanes. A president has never used it to bypass a Congress that denied him funding due to a policy disagreement.
"I am concerned about the precedent an emergency declaration sets, which might empower a future liberal president to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address 'climate emergencies,' or even to tear down the wall we