A dozen GOP senators reject border emergency declaration in rebuke of Trump (updated)

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Hey media villagers committed to your “Dems in Disarray”™ meme — where is your “White House in Disarray” or “Republicans in Disarray” meme now when it actually applies?

Vice President Mike Pence, who is decidedly not “an honorable person,” tried to pressure Republican senators to not vote in favor of the resolution rejecting Donald Trump’s emergency declaration on the Mexico border.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump’s MAGA minions in the Senate even floated the idea of the Senate amending the resolution to revise the statute that allows for presidential emergency orders prospectively, but would not apply retroactively to Trump’s emergency declaration on the Mexico border, so that it would not actually do anything and allow Republicans to have it both ways, because they are craven cowards (and Trump would only have vetoed that measure anyway). The Senate parliamentarian would not allow any amendments to the narrowly crafted resolution. GOP running out of options on Trump’s border emergency.

No matter, “Dear Leader” threw threw his vice president and Senate GOP leaders under the bus for all their efforts to bow to his will. Steve Benen explains, Trump rejects deal Pence tried to negotiate on emergency declaration:

Ahead of today’s Senate vote on a resolution rejecting Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, Vice President Mike Pence took on an unpleasant task: lobbying Senate Republicans to put aside their principles, ignore the separation of powers, and follow the president’s lead in the name of partisan loyalty.

Oddly enough, those lobbying efforts appeared to be having some effect. As we discussed the other day, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has been working on revising the National Emergencies Act – the law Trump abused to redirect funds to the border – in order to restrict the scope of presidential powers going forward. If the vice president could get the White House’s support for Lee’s proposal, Pence was told, it might help persuade GOP senators to reject the bill on the emergency declaration.

As TPM reported yesterday:

[On Tuesday] Vice President Mike Pence indicated to Republican senators in a closed-door meeting that Trump was open to Lee’s legislation as a way to avoid an embarrassing public rebuke that would expose rifts within the GOP.

And right on cue, as the New York Times reported, Trump decided he wasn’t open to Lee’s measure after all.

A last-ditch gambit to spare Senate Republicans a hostile showdown with President Trump over the Constitution’s separation of powers was torpedoed on Wednesday by the president himself, increasing the likelihood that the Senate will vote on Thursday to overturn the president’s emergency declaration and force the first veto of his term.

Soon after, the Utah Republican announced that he, too, intends to support the resolution intended to block Trump’s emergency declaration.

Sen. Lee was joined by his fellow Republican Utah senator, Willard “Mittens” Romney, who will also vote for the resolution to block Trump’s emergency declaration. When you’ve lost ruby red Utah …

Steve Benen poses “a related question: if Pence can’t speak for the White House, why do people keep trying to negotiate with him?”

A couple of months ago, for example, the vice president had a conversation with Juan Orlando Hernandez, the president of Honduras, and the Republican praised Hernandez’s cooperative efforts to limit migrant caravans. Soon after, Trump publicly rejected Pence’s line and said the opposite.

It came on the heels of Pence’s efforts to broker a deal with Democratic lawmakers to avoid a government shutdown, only to have Trump reject the terms his own vice president had offered.

To reiterate a point from our previous coverage, I’m not talking about private deliberations, in which there’s back and forth between a president and top members his team. This is about public disagreements, in which the vice president, under the impression that he’s articulating the administration’s position, says one thing, only to have the president say something altogether different soon after.

Hey media villagers, your “White House in Disarray” meme!

An aside: The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin said on MSNBC this week that Trump will drop Mike Pence in 2020 in favor of former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. I seriously doubt it. First, The Christian Right fundamentalists love Mike Pence, he is one of their own, and they would revolt. Secondly, Haley was born Nimrata Randhawa to an Indian American Sikh family. Her father, Ajit Singh Randhawa, and her mother, Raj Kaur Randhawa, emigrated from Amritsar District, Punjab, India. The white nationalist anti-immigrant base of the Party of Trump will not accept Haley.

So Trump chose confrontation with Congress and he lost huuuge. Senate Rejects Trump’s Border Emergency Declaration, Setting Up First Veto:

The Senate on Thursday easily voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to what lawmakers in both parties deemed executive overreach by a president determined to build his border wall over Congress’s objections.

The 59-41 vote on the House-passed measures set up the first veto of Mr. Trump’s presidency. It was not overwhelming enough to override Mr. Trump’s promised veto, but Congress has now voted to block a presidential emergency declaration for the first time — and on one of the core promises that animated Mr. Trump’s political rise, the vow to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

In an attempt to limit defections ahead of the vote, Mr. Trump had sought to frame the vote publicly as not only a declaration of support for his border security policies but a sign of personal loyalty.

Trump has no loyalty to his vice president or Republicans in Congress, and they just demonstrated that they have no loyalty to him. This is a hopeful sign for the future.

[Trump] could not overcome concerns among Republican senators about the legality of redirecting $3.6 billion from military construction projects toward the border wall even after Congress explicitly rejected the funding request.

“I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution,” said Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, in a statement written on lined paper. “This continues our country down the path of all powerful executive — something those who wrote the Constitution were fearful of.”

Ultimately, about a dozen Republicans joined Senate Democrats in supporting the House-passed resolution of disapproval: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Jerry Moran of Kansas.

Congresswoman Martha McSally snuggles up to President Donald Trump.
Congresswoman Martha McSally snuggles up to President Donald Trump.

Our own Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) is still standing by her man like Tammy Wynette, the “power of the purse” exclusively the province of Congress and the principle of separation of powers be damned. McSally voted to abdicate these constitutional prerogatives to an autocratic “Dear Leader,” in violation of her oath of office.

The vote marks an explicit rebuke of Mr. Trump’s effort to end-run the constitutional power of the purse given to Congress, and although supporters will not be able to overcome a veto, the action could bolster a number of lawsuits contesting the emergency declaration as a flagrant violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.

The number of Republican defections underscores the turmoil within the Republican Conference — hey media villagers, your “Republicans in Disarray” meme! — where senators were torn between supporting the president’s vision for border security and asserting Congress’s constitutional prerogative to dictate federal spending.

Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina and one of the first to publicly say he would support the resolution, announced he had changed his mind just minutes before the vote. (Coward!) Facing a tough re-election campaign in 2020, he said that conversations with the White House and his colleagues contributed to his changed vote. He had also been warned in recent days by North Carolina conservatives that he could face a primary challenger for his stand.

Three Republican senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Ted Cruz of Texas — interrupted Mr. Trump’s dinner with his wife, Melania, at the White House Wednesday night to share their concerns about the constitutional precedent that Mr. Trump had established. Mr. Graham said he asked for the meeting because he considered Mr. Sasse and Mr. Cruz “good guys” and hoped to limit the number of defections.

“I said there’s some people want to talk to you, they have some concerns about the emergency declaration,” Mr. Graham said. “Hell, if I was him, I would have told us to go to hell.”

Nevertheless, all three of these cowards voted to abdicate their constitutional prerogatives to their “Dear Leader” in violation of their oath of office.

Graham, along with other lawmakers supportive of the declaration, argued that the president’s declaration was within the jurisdiction of the National Emergencies Act, and was needed to address what the president and his supporters deem to be a crisis at the southwestern border.

“I take Congress’s prerogative over appropriations extremely seriously,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. “But,” he added, “the Senate should not be in the business of misusing specific resolutions to express opinions on more general matters” — says the man who stages show votes for GOP messaging all the time.

Yet Mr. McConnell, who strongly advised Mr. Trump against declaring the emergency declaration, made a point of not pressuring whipping senators to support Mr. Trump, urging them to vote according to their consciences and political interests, according to seven Republican aides and lawmakers.

In a volley of phone calls with Senate Republicans over the last few weeks, the president warned of the electoral consequences of defying his will and dismissed concerns about the constitutional precedent of his order.

The president attempted to cajole a handful of members to vote his way during a meeting on trade at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, emphasizing that a vote “against border security” would be noticed by the party’s nativist base, according to two people who attended.

But Mr. Trump also personally sunk attempts by Republican senators this week to limit the number of defections to a handful, an endeavor that would have saved the president a second embarrassing loss in a week that also featured a bipartisan rebuke of his dogged support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, even after the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

When Mr. Paul, a libertarian who frequently bucks his party, announced his support for the resolution, the president flew into a rage, according to two people with knowledge of the situation — and called Mr. Paul to demand that he reverse himself. The senator refused.

And when Mr. Lee proposed an alternative measure — a bill that would restrict future uses of emergency declarations, but leave Mr. Trump’s order in place — and discussed it in a meeting with other undecided senators and Vice President Mike Pence, Mr. Pence expressed support, according to multiple people briefed on the meeting.

The next day, Mr. Trump called the Utah Republican in the middle of a Republican policy lunch to inform him that he did not, in fact, support the measure (throwing Vice President Pence under the bus). Mr. Lee, who announced the president’s verdict to gasps from his colleagues, later declared his support for the resolution.

On Thursday, before the vote, Mr. Trump said that he would support efforts to update the 1976 law “at a later date.” I call Bullshit!

So here’s the situation: Both the House and Senate have voted overwhelmingly to reject Trump’s border emergency declaration. Trump’s self-serving veto should be meaningless to the federal courts reviewing Trump’s border emergency declaration. Congress has clearly spoken, through the budget process rejecting funding for Trump’s “big beautiful wall on the Mexico border,” and now in a historic first, a resolution rejecting Trump’s border emergency declaration.

The federal court’s must uphold this congressional action over Trump’s over-reaching border emergency declaration.

UPDATE: In the third rebuke of Donald Trump in the past 24 hours, The House just passed a resolution to make Robert Mueller’s report public:

In a rare bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution Thursday to make the Mueller Report public. Republicans joined Democrats in a 420-0 vote to approve the resolution, with just four lawmakers declining to take a stance by voting ‘present.’

It’s unclear whether “The Enemy of The People,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will pick it up. He blocked a similar bipartisan bill from Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) from the Senate floor earlier this year.

UPDATE: Not Mitch, but the “Littlest Rebel,” Little Lindsey Graham, conspiracy monger for Fox News. Graham blocks resolution calling for Mueller report to be made public:

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked for unanimous consent for the nonbinding resolution, which cleared the House 420-0, to be passed by the Senate before they leave town for a weeklong recess.

“There is no good reason, no good reason that the special counsel’s report should not be made public. The American people are overwhelmingly for the report being made public. They have a right to see it. No one should stand in the way of that,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.

But Graham, a close ally of Trump’s who chairs the Judiciary Committee, objected after Schumer refused to amend the House-passed resolution to include a provision calling on the Justice Department (DOJ) to appoint a special counsel to investigate DOJ misconduct in the handling of the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email use and the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications.

Graham added that he had been “trying to find balance” by also supporting an investigation into Clinton-related scandals.

“Was there two systems of justice in 2016? One for the Democratic candidate and one for the Republican candidate?” Graham asked.

The ghost of John McCain should pay a visit to his old friend, the Littlest Rebel, and kick his sorry ass for becoming such a pathetic Trump ass-kisser.




1 COMMENT

  1. One of those voting “present” on the Mueller report being made public is the inexplicably odd AZ Rep. Gosar. He’s really got to go in 2020.

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