Trump’s Appeal Will Have No Lasting Power

Perhaps it is not shocking that only 13 House Republicans voted for a Joint Resolution on Tuesday to terminate Proclamation 9844, which Donald Trump issued to declare a national emergency over the dispute about the southern border. I guess whether you’re surprised or not depends on how cynical you are about the Republican Party. Either way, if reporting on Vice President Mike Pence’s Tuesday meeting with the Senate GOP Caucus is accurate, there could be more support on a percentage-basis when the resolution is taken up in the Senate.

One of the most vocal critics of the administration in that meeting was Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is known for his libertarian family brand. He could eventually vote for the resolution, but first he’ll apparently have to invest the fifteen seconds it takes to read it.

Undecided senators were mostly non-committal on how they will vote in interviews on Tuesday. The strongest remarks came from Paul, but even he wasn’t ready to join GOP Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in pledging to vote for the resolution.

“I haven’t looked at the bill yet, but I am against emergency powers,” Paul said.

Since there are already three Republican senators on the record as supporting the resolution, the president can hope to do no better than 50-50 on the roll call. Supposedly, there are as many as ten GOP senators who are leaning towards voting ‘aye,’ but they don’t want to announce their support and get blamed for tipping the balance against Trump.

As many as 10 Senate Republicans could support a resolution of disapproval if a vote were held today, according to four GOP senators who attended the lunch and heard Republican senators’ complaints. That’s far more than the four needed to pass the legislation on a simple majority and force Trump to issue the first veto of his presidency. Currently there are three public “yes” votes in the Senate GOP conference…

…More than a half-dozen Republican senators are mulling voting for the resolution, though they are hesitant to become the deciding vote to defy Trump and make an announcement…

I may be wrong about this, but I truly believe that there will be a bigger price to pay for Republican senators who stood by this president than those who challenged him. I think this will even be true among Republican voters in Republican primaries. It may not feel that way right now. In fact, I’m sure these conservative lawmakers are being strongly encouraged by their supportive constituents to back and defend Donald Trump against his detractors. In the end, though, I suspect that there will be almost no penalty for having bucked Trump after he is gone. Trump’s role in the party will be scrubbed even more thoroughly than George W. Bush’s was after he left office.

So, I think it’s not only cowardly of the Republican senators to cower in fear, but actually counterproductive. One day, they’ll get some mileage if they can say they cast the deciding vote against Trump’s fake border emergency. It’s too bad they’re so bad at predicting the future.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.