Ben Sasse explains why he flipped on Trump's border emergency declaration

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told Fox News on Monday night that he voted against a resolution to stop President Trump's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border because "the president is absolutely right" and the emergency declaration "is not a close call."

"I think there are three different issues here," Sasse told "Special Report with Bret Baier." "The first is, do we objectively have a crisis at the border? And, we do ... Second, does the president have the authority to declare a crisis in this kind of circumstance? ... I think the president does have that authority. That is a different question than whether or not that's a good law."

Twelve Senate Republicans joined the Democrats' effort Thursday to block Trump's emergency declaration, including the party's 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The resolution, which the president vetoed the following day, would have blocked Trump from seizing billions of dollars intended for other projects in order to pay for his long-promised wall along the southwestern border.

Sasse told Fox News that the 1976 National Emergencies Act used by Trump to justify the emergency declaration "is an unbelievably broad law and I think we should fix it ... But I think we should be doing that in a way that applies to every president going forward, not just this president at this time, about this emergency."


"We should distinguish a lot more between campaigning and governance," said Sasse, who is up for re-election next year, "and at the level of governance, we ought to be dealing with the crisis at the southern border, which is real, and we ought to be reforming the National Emergencies Act, which gives too much power to presidents, going forward."

Sasse also discussed the ongoing flooding in his home state, saying that his hometown of Fremont "became an island for days" and added that he was working with the Trump administration to get federal aid to the state soon.

"It really is quite stunning," Sasse said of the flooding. "We have 93 counties, 53 of them have issued emergency declarations ... What we need is no more rain and lots of neighbors helping neighbors right now."

The senator also shrugged off insinuations that climate change was to blame for intensifying the disaster, saying "the if-then connection that a lot of people draw in the midst of a crisis isn't very helpful."


"We got a whole bunch of people struggling for life and livelihood, sandbars in the middle of the Platte River filled with cows," he said. " ... So politicizing this in the midst of a controversy isn't the right move. The debate around climate change is important, there is a lot of debate we should be having there, but lots of the folks who are running for office want to pretend that they have certainty about what the solution is, even when their solutions would often be devastating to the economy.

"So, we should be distinguishing between analysis of big problems, emergency response and debates about what you do down the road."

Fox News' Bret Baier contributed to this report.