Some Republicans are 'queasy' about Trump using a fake emergency declaration to build a wall along the southern border.
Some Republican senators are hoping Trump will cave on his latest attempt to abuse executive power, Politico reports, because they are "queasy about the legality and precedent" of Trump declaring a fake "national emergency" just to build a border wall.
By law, the GOP-controlled Senate will be forced to vote this week on a House-passed resolution to block Trump's emergency — which will force Republican senators to decide between loyalty to Trump and their oath to uphold the Constitution.
Trump only declared an emergency after Congress refused to fork over $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. By doing so, Trump is abusing his power under the National Emergency Act, stealing money from troops and military families to build his wall, and usurping Congress' constitutional mandate to control government funding.
Most Republican senators, like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), are having no problem choosing Trump over the Constitution. "No president wants to constrain their power," Cornyn told Politico.
And while Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed reservations about the legality of Trump's declaration, he has continued to support Trump doing it.
But a few Republican senators know how bad this looks for them, and are trying to negotiate a last-minute compromise to get Trump to agree to curtail some of his own power if the senators agree to vote against the disapproval measure. As it stands, the disapproval measure is likely to get enough Republican defectors to pass, and go to Trump's desk, with a simple majority of more than 50 senators.
"There's a lot of different discussions going on," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) told Politico. Tillis and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) were in talks with the White House over the weekend about the possible amendment to the National Emergency Act to limit Trump's executive powers.
That idea also seemed to please Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who is undecided on the measure to disapprove of Trump's fake emergency. Rubio told Politico he would "consider" supporting Tillis and Lee's proposed compromise.
But that compromise is probably doomed. As Politico notes, it's highly unlikely that Trump would sign any legislation curtailing his executive powers. In addition, any such legislation would need 60 votes in the Senate and a majority in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
At the same time Republican senators are looking for an escape hatch, Trump is ramping up the pressure on them to side with him. He's using the looming Senate vote as a loyalty test, and even openly urging senators to choose him over their oath to uphold the Constitution.
On Monday, Trump tweeted: "Republican Senators have a very easy vote this week. It is about Border Security and the Wall (stopping Crime, Drugs etc.), not Constitutionality and Precedent." He made similar remarks about "constitutionality and precedent" last week to try to harangue Republicans to support him.
As Republicans struggle with their divided loyalties — Trump or the U.S. Constitution — Democrats have no such dilemma. The entire Democratic caucus is united around defending the separation of powers and blocking Trump's fake national emergency.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.