More national and in-state voices are weighing in on the emergency declaration vote, including blasting lack of principles exhibited by the 41 Republican Senators who stood with Trump instead of the constitution or their constituents.
Nebraska: Sen. Ben Sasse: Lincoln Journal Star editorial: “Sasse’s vote doesn’t back his words on emergency”:
Sen. Ben Sasse publicly railed against the emergency declaration, so his decision to back it when it came to a vote dismays the Journal Star editorial board.
…Our politicians seem to have forgotten that when the majority party bends the rules, the minority party will no doubt return the favor when it returns to power. An equal and opposite reaction, as Isaac Newton termed it.
Sasse long expressed these same valid concerns.
…He went as far as reportedly visiting the White House the night before Thursday’s vote, where he was said to have urged Trump to change course. Up until the vote, his words and actions deserved praise.
Then, he voted no – after correctly sounding the siren on the consequences.
While he professed support for a bill to rein in the National Emergencies Act in his statement – certainly justifiable – he then deflected blame for his vote. “I think (the act) is overly broad and I want to fix it, but at present Nancy Pelosi doesn’t, so I am therefore voting against her politically motivated resolution.”
North Carolina: Sen. Thom Tillis: Winston-Salem Journal LTE:
I’ll bet the editorial department at the Journal feels pretty foolish after seeing Sen. Thom Tillis’ flip-flop (“Senate slaps down Trump border emergency,” March 15).
“It is my responsibility to be a steward of the Article I branch,” he wrote in the guest column you published (“For security but against Trump’s emergency,” Feb. 28), “to preserve the separation of powers and to curb the kind of executive overreach that Congress has allowed to fester for the better part of the past century. I stood by that principle during the Obama administration, and I stand by it now.”
Sure, he stood by that principle — right up until it was time to cast his vote. So much for responsibility and being a steward. So much for principle. All of those virtues have been in short supply among Republicans since President Trump took office.
Maybe next time you won’t be so quick to serve as a press agent for a Republican politician.
Also read David Leonhardt in the New York Times reserving particular scorn for Senator Tillis’s transparent flip-flop in a piece titled, “Senator Hypocrisy (R-N.C.)”
Congressional Republicans offered up two conflicting storylines yesterday, and it’s worth keeping both in mind.
…Thom Tillis of North Carolina was the most blatant. Two weeks ago, he opposed the Trump move as an unacceptable power grab, writing in a Washington Post op-ed: “There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach — that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party.”
As recently as Wednesday, his staff sent nasty emails of denial to Aaron Blake of The Post when Blake described Tillis as turning “wobbly.”
Yesterday, however, Tillis caved. He did so after conservatives began talking about supporting a primary challenge to him in 2020 if he voted against Trump. “This is Trump’s party,” Rachel Bitecofer of Christopher Newport University notes.
Of the seven Republican senators facing competitive races next year, six voted with Trump yesterday. They are evidently more scared of losing a primary than of losing a general election, as Jonathan Bernstein of Bloomberg Opinion points out.
In his newest piece, conservative New York Times columnist Bret Stephens writes, “Twelve Righteous Republicans (and 41 Cowards),” noting:
Less than a quarter of the G.O.P. caucus was prepared to block a national-emergency declaration most of them know violates the separation of powers, tramples on their legislative prerogatives, makes a mockery of long-held conservative principles, and establishes a political precedent they will come to regret bitterly and soon.
Nor will it solve the border problem it’s ostensibly intended to address, much less build anything except a small section of Donald Trump’s fantasy wall. Thomas More’s great line to Richard Rich from “A Man For All Seasons” may be shopworn, but it’s apt: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world . . . but for Wales?”
In this week’s drama there’s more than one perjurious Rich. But special mentions must be made of Nebraska’s Ben Sasse and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis. Both of them previously opposed the emergency declaration. Both are up for renomination and re-election next year. And both found ways to vote something other than their consciences.
Conservative columnist Max Boot in the Washington Post, writes: “ The GOP’s declaration of moral bankruptcy,” assessing:
Now its bankruptcy is complete. It has no more moral capital left. The Republican Party as we once knew it — as a party of limited government — officially ended on March 14.
That was the day that 41 of 53 Republican senators voted to ratify President Trump’s blatantly unconstitutional and transparently cynical declaration of a national emergency so that he can spend money for a border wall that Congress refuses to appropriate.
…only one Republican who is up for reelection next year — Susan Collins (Maine) — had the guts to defy the president. Other senators stared into the abyss and blinked. Ben Sasse (Neb.), who prides himself on his devotion to the Constitution and his independence from Trump, was among the sellouts. No one should take his claims to be a serious person seriously ever again. So too supposed constitutional conservatives such as Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and John Cornyn (Tex.) revealed themselves to be rank hypocrites and craven partisans. We ask soldiers to risk their lives to defend the Constitution, but these cowards would not even risk their political careers.