House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Fort Worth
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to do everything she can to prevent President Donald Trump from using federal dollars gained by declaring a national emergency to build his long-promised border wall.
On Monday, while in Fort Worth kicking off Women’s History Month at an all-girls school, she briefly touched on the issue, one week after the U.S. House passed a resolution to overturn the president’s declaration.
“Maybe he will just withdraw it, as some of the Republican senators are asking him to do because they know that it undermines the Constitution of the United States,” Pelosi said after speaking to students at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. “He’s asking us to ignore the Oath of Office that we take to protect and defend the Constitution by this declaration.
“I’m hopeful he will withdraw it. But in the event (he doesn’t), we’ll fight him in the Congress, we’ll fight him in the courts, we’ll fight him in the court of public opinion,” she said. “What he’s doing is wrong and the Republicans know it.”
Trump last month declared the emergency to lock in billions of dollars Congress wouldn’t allocate for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. His desire for the wall dates to his 2016 presidential campaign, when he and supporters chanted “Build That Wall.” And when asked who would pay for it, Trump’s response was Mexico.
Critics quickly filed lawsuits challenging the move, which shifts money already dedicated for other purposes to build the wall.
Pelosi pointed out that it was a Texan — U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio — who authored the resolution to overturn the president’s declaration.
On the other hand, Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said during a recent visit to Fort Worth that he believes it’s important to move forward with the wall.
“I don’t simply ... agree with those who say it’s a fake emergency or we don’t need to respond,” he said during a February event in Fort Worth. “I think we do.”
Fort Worth school
On Monday, Pelosi appeared at YWLA with U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, and YWLA Principal Tamara Albury to talk about the school’s success in inspiring future female leaders.
YWLA is the first and only single-gender school for young women in the Fort Worth school district.
The school, a member of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, teaches girls in grades six through 12. Teachers there work to inspire and empower female students considering going into careers in math, science and technology. And it touts a 100 percent graduation rate.
Pelosi spoke about how a record 131 women serve in Congress.
And “we want more,” she said with a smile.
She encouraged students to study hard.
“You are the only person like you in the world and you have a unique contribution,” she said. “Know yourself. Be yourself. Know your power.”
Veasey, who said he brags about YWLA all the time, invited Pelosi to speak at the school.
“These young women set the standard high for this future generation of change seekers,” Veasey said. “It was a pleasure to spend the morning with an inspiring diverse group of future female leaders who look to Speaker Pelosi as an example of what successful, confident women can achieve.”
In 2017, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy was listed among 400 Texas campuses to earn all distinctions applicable to individual schools, according to the Texas Education Agency. Up to seven distinctions could be earned under the state’s accountability systems, including in reading and math.
A few things Pelosi touched on during her speech:
She still hopes the country will soon elect a female president. But she thought the country would have been ready for that before Congress was ready for a female House Speaker. “There should be no situation that is closed to women,” she said. “When women succeed, America succeeds.”
She has three photos with presidents hanging in her office. One is with John F. Kennedy, before he became president, when she was a teenager. Another is with President George H.W. Bush. And the third is with President Barack Obama. Speaking of Bush, she noted that when he was president, “then, there was a more respectful back and forth between people in office. ... I loved him.”
When asked what her theme song is, she named “One” by U2. “It’s about oneness,” she said. “I do have it on my phone in case you want to hear it.”