White House press secretary Sarah Sanders lashed out Wednesday at Republican senators considering bucking President Trump on his national emergency declaration, saying their inaction on border security has forced Trump “to fix this problem on his own.”

Sanders’s comments come as the Trump administration steps up pressure on wavering Republicans ahead of a vote next week on a measure to nullify Trump’s emergency declaration on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has acknowledged the measure is likely to pass — which would be an embarrassment for Trump — but not survive a threatened presidential veto.

Asked Wednesday morning if she has a message for Republicans considering voting against the president, Sanders responded sharply.

“My message to that group is to do your job,” she said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” “If you had done what you were elected to do on the front end, the president wouldn’t have to fix this problem on his own through a national emergency.”

Trump is attempting to use the emergency declaration to secure more funding for border barriers than Congress has authorized.

Some of the Republican senators who have said they will support the resolution to nullify the emergency declaration — including Maine’s Susan Collins and Thom Tillis (N.C.) — have made their case for the separation of powers and the need to protect congressional prerogative, particularly on deciding how taxpayer money is spent.

Two other Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have said they will join Democrats in voting for the resolution, with Paul predicting more Republican senators will join them.

During the Fox interview, Sanders also pointed to a surge in migrants being detained at the border as further justification for Trump’s emergency declaration.

Last month was the busiest February at the border since 2007 with authorities detaining 76,103 migrants, up from 58,207 in January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection figures released Tuesday.

“If that doesn’t define crisis, I don’t know what does,” Sanders said.

“Congress should have fixed this problem,” she added. “The president tried multiple times to get Congress to work with him to address the crisis. They failed to do so, and now the president has to do what is absolutely necessary and what is right, and that is to declare a national emergency and fix the crisis at the border.”

Trump declared the emergency on Feb. 15 to try to tap $3.6 billion allocated for military construction projects. The administration is also accessing $601 million from a forfeiture fund in the Treasury Department and $2.5 billion from a Pentagon counterdrug account, which it can do without an emergency declaration.

During her television appearance, Sanders also criticized House Democrats for a sweeping investigation launched this week into whether Trump and his administration have been involved in corruption and abuse of power.

“It is an absolute embarrassment that members of Congress are using all of their time and resources into attacking the president when they should be looking at trying to solve problems that this country has, like the president is doing,” Sanders said. “They should follow his example of coming to work every day and looking at how they can help the American people, not how they can attack this president.”

Seung Min Kim, Erica Werner and Nick Miroff contributed to this report.


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