Pence sent to Senate to beg GOP to support Trump's fake 'emergency'

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GOP support for Trump's so-called national emergency is slipping.

Mike Pence got sent to the Senate Tuesday to plead with GOP senators to stand firm in backing Trump's unnecessary and unwanted declaration of a national emergency in order to build his border wall.

It didn't go well.

The House has already voted to terminate the sham emergency, with 13 Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with every Democrat.

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By Monday of this week, three Republican senators — Marco Rubio (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — were considered highly likely to jump ship and vote with the Democrats to reject the declaration. Tuesday morning, another domino fell when Thom Tillis (R-NC) said he'd vote in favor of the resolution as well.

Four unnamed Republican senators at the Pence luncheon said there are as many as ten GOP senators who would support a resolution disapproving the national emergency. Given that the Democrats only need four Republican defectors to pass the measure, it's no wonder that Pence is tasked with trying to keep the GOP in line.

At lunch, Pence vainly tried to explain how Trump's emergency declaration is different from President Obama's executive actions on immigration, which Republicans hated partly because they claimed it was an overreach of executive power.

One anonymous senator described Pence's argument as, "We've got a crisis, that means the president can do this." He didn't consider that a very good argument.

Rand Paul argued with Pence that if the GOP backs the national emergency, they're ceding the high ground on the issue.

While Paul is wrong that the GOP has ever held the high ground on this issue, his underlying sentiment is correct: The GOP will lose all ability to pretend they are the party of the rule of law if they back a president who has overridden the wishes of both the House and Senate.

This isn't the first time that Pence was sent to the Senate do Trump's dirty work for him, and it isn't the first time Pence got beaten up by members of his own party when he did so.

During Trump's government shutdown, Pence trekked to a Senate luncheon to beg the GOP to stay unified in allowing Trump to continue his pointless, drawn-out closure of the government. The senators told Pence they didn't want a shutdown, however, and that it was a bad idea in the first place.

In the instance of the national emergency, it isn't likely that there are enough GOP defectors to create a veto-proof majority. That would take 20 Republicans crossing the aisle. But that's a bit beside the point.

Trump is having an increasingly hard time forcing the GOP to agree with his pointless, heartless, and expensive moves at our southern border, and there doesn't appear to be anything Mike Pence can do about it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.