2019-03-14 17:35:411 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
This certainly wasn't what Donald Trump was expecting. He didn't just lose the Republicans necessary to pass the Democrats' resolution against the president's emergency, he lost three times that amount in a huge public showing.
Trump tried for a year to get Congress to vote to give him the money he wanted for his border wall. He even shut down the government to force the Democrats' hand, only to end up backing down. Once he finally received a deal, he accepted it, then declared a national emergency in a money grab to get even more money.
While Democrats had their obvious problems with the president's declaration, the Republicans had a problem with it as well. Sure, they are all on board with Trump as far as increasing border security with possibly a physical barrier of some type, but what they just couldn't put their stamp of approval on was using executive powers to overrule a Congressional decision.
The Democrat-controlled House easily passed a resolution to disapprove of the national emergency, moving it on to the Senate. There were 10 Republicans who indicated they disagreed with the president, and one by one the Senate GOP started saying they would approve the resolution until they had the four votes necessary to pass the resolution along with the Democratic votes.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) tried to create a rule to help mend the fences. This would allow this national emergency to go through but would throttle future presidents as well as Trump from wantonly declaring emergencies to overrule Congress. House Speaker Nanci Pelosi (D-CA) rejected it, as did Trump, with Lee resigning to voting for the resolution disapproving the emergency on Wednesday.
That meant there would be five votes for the resolution. But on Wednesday when the votes were cast, there were 12 who voted for the resolution, something that is sure to stick in Trump's craw, that his own party couldn't even support building the wall in this manner.
"To make clear, a border fence, a border barrier, is a policy that I support, wholeheartedly, unequivocally," said Lee when he announced his support for the resolution on the Senate floor.
"Declaring a national emergency to access different funds sets a dangerous, new precedent," added Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
"No president has ever used what's called the National Emergencies Act in this way. As a result, it opens the door for future presidents to implement just about any policy they want and to take funding from other areas Congress has already decided on without Congress's approval."
Also voting for the resolution were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), three of the original four who said they would vote for the resolution. The fourth, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), ultimately voted against the resolution.
"My main concern with the executive action is future potential abuses," Tillis said on the Senate floor. "I have a concern with the executive action that the president took, the emergency order, that's why I voiced it. But I'm sympathetic to what he was trying to do."
The remaining votes for the resolution were Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).
"Well before the president declared this national emergency, I made clear that such a declaration was ill-advised," said Toomey in a statement.
"The president's emergency declaration undermines the fundamental constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and it sets a dangerous precedent that future presidents could use to advance controversial policies."
This should prove to be a huge wake-up call for Trump. These senators may have been in his back pocket for the last two years, but heading into the 2020 election, they will not continue to back him 100%.
They will not back him with everything he decides he wants. They will still do what they feel is best for the nation. And while they feel border security is the best for the nation, presidents overruling Congress is not.
This should also worry Trump with regards to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's expected report on the Russia investigation and the House investigations against him. Sure, they'll back Trump now, but if they prove that he did something that is against the interest of the nation, they may be reluctant once again to back him.
They proved on Thursday that they have their limits with Trump. They are backing him right now because he is leading the nation through policies they agree with. But if Trump steps out of that box, they will not continue to support him, and that should really worry Trump when looking at his chances for 2020.
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