MURRAY — Between four and five dozen protesters picketed on a interstate overpass Monday, waving flags and carrying signs that read "Trump is the crisis" after President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency on the border with Mexico.
"It’s not about border security. This a president who has taken the purse and the purse is Congress. The president doesn’t get to decide appropriations. He’s totally outside his constitutional limits. The people not only need to recognize that, but stop that," said Sarah Buck of Salt Lake Indivisible.
These events should trouble all Americans because the U.S. Constitution established a balance of powers, she said.
"When that falls out of balance, we all fall," Buck said.
The declaration gives Trump access billions of dollars to build a border wall after Congress refused to appropriate the level of funding he wanted.
While other presidents have declared national emergencies, Buck said this was the first time it was done solely to access funding.
"I hope Congress recognizes he’s totally taking over their job. He’s totally outside his role as president. Honestly, it’s the Senate who should be stepping up and saying, ‘No, you won’t do this.’ They should have a veto-proof ability because it’s unconstitutional what he's doing and that should cross every line. I’m a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I’m a registered Republican and I’m furious at how he’s undermining our nation and our balance of powers," she said.
While Salt Lake Indivisible protested on the overpass, there were also demonstrations at the federal building and state Capitol, she said.
Members of the group Salt Lake Indivisible said they chose the overpass at about 6400 South over I-215 for its visibility.
Buck said she was particularly heartened by the participation of youths and young people in their 20s.
"I think it is so important this age group helps us draw a line in the sand," she said.
Activists from the CD4 Coalition and Move On also took part in the demonstrations Monday.81 comments on this story
While the latest public demonstrations are tied to what the group believes is Trump's overreach, Buck said she started to recognize a shift in Utah's mood back when then-Rep. Jason Chaffetz's town hall meeting in Cottonwood Heights took an ugly turn in February 2017.
"It was dangerous. People were so upset and they didn't have a voice. Democracy is supposed to give us a voice so we don't feel angry, so we don't feel unrepresented," she said.
Linda Griffen, also of Salt Lake Indivisible, added, "We want to be heard as people. We don't approve of the executive overreach the president has taken."
Contributing: Paul Nelson