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Following yesterday’s stunning rebuke of Trump’s national emergency declaration in the Senate by a margin of 59-41, a number of editorial boards have weighed in.
The key themes: those who stood up to the President are patriots who care about the Constitutional separation of powers, those who didn’t caved to a President who uses autocratic means to achieve xenophobic ends, and those Republicans who caved because they fear Trump and and a primary opponent more than their oath of office are in serious trouble come 2020. Those who were slammed the hardest: Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Below are excerpts from some of the key editorials:
Gardner has been too busy walking a political tightrope to be a leader. He has become precisely what we said in our endorsement he would not be: “a political time-server interested only in professional security.”
Gardner was not among the 12 Republicans who joined Democrats in rejecting President Donald Trump’s use of a national emergency declaration to allocate funds to a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
…This is a bogus emergency that takes executive over-reach to an extreme not seen even under President Barack Obama. Trump’s declaration is an abuse of his power, a direct overturning of Congress’ deliberate decision to pass a federal budget without funding for a wall.
Put simply this is a constitutional crisis and one of Colorado’s two senators has failed the test.
…We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support in a close race against Mark Udall.
North Carolina: WRAL and other in-state affiliates of Capitol Broadcasting Company: “Sen. Tillis delivers flip-flop for the ages”:
What Tillis says he believes and what he does are now revealed to be VERY different things – particularly when a re-election is on the line.
…If the senator goes looking for the definition of “situational principles,” now, he may find his picture beside it in the dictionary.
Not only has he misled and let his constituents down, he’s bailed on his fellow senators – including the 12 Republicans who voted to pass the resolution 59-41 — though short of the 67 votes needed to override a promised presidential veto.
Tillis’ office churns out a flood of news releases to depict him as “bipartisan.” This vote shows exactly where Thom Tillis stands: rigidly partisan and shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump – the U.S. Constitution and his word to the people of North Carolina be damned.
A dozen Republicans defected, and the dissenters represent a broad cross-section of the Republican conference.
…Mr. Trump put Senators running for election in 2020 in a particular bind. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona and Ben Sasse of Nebraska all voted with the President. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who had earlier said he’d vote to override the emergency, changed his mind and also voted with Mr. Trump. They clearly didn’t want to offend the President and his supporters. But the Senators have now created a political opening for their Democratic opponents. Mr. Trump is doing needless harm to his party’s chances of keeping Senate control in 2020.
Hypocrisy is a term often bandied about too easily. But it was crystallized in a single moment Thursday, when 41 Republican senators voted to surrender their legislative authority to an overreaching president.
…Among those surrendering on principle were senators who had thundered against President Barack Obama for executive overreach on lesser issues, including Tom Cotton and John Boozman of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas. But their ire over an imperial presidency quickly drained away when a Republican president trampled on Congress’ power of the purse.
Fundamentally, though, what we will have witnessed if the veto is upheld is the failure of enough congressional Republicans to stand up to Mr. Trump and the voter base that responds to his bursts of demagoguery on Twitter, even at the expense of their constitutional authority and erstwhile principles.
…To be sure, 12 senators, or about 23 percent of the GOP caucus, voted against Mr. Trump — an improvement over the 6.6 percent of House Republicans who mustered that much gumption.
…But most of Mr. Trump’s party remained unwilling to do the right thing, despite their zeal in denouncing executive overreach when the alleged overreacher was President Barack Obama.
Especially disappointing were the votes in favor of Mr. Trump’s emergency by Republican Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.), Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.). All three style themselves guardians of conservative constitutionalism; Mr. Tillis had gone so far as to assert, in a Feb. 25 op-ed for The Post, that his conservative principles would not let him uphold Mr. Trump’s emergency declaration. With the party’s ultras talking about a primary challenge when he is up for reelection in 2020, however, Mr. Tillis flip-flopped, claiming that now there is a “serious discussion” of amending laws to prevent a repeat of this situation.
…Ironically, it was Mr. Tillis who best articulated the stakes. “There is no intellectual honesty in now turning around and arguing that there’s an imaginary asterisk attached to executive overreach,” Mr. Tillis wrote in The Post, “that it’s acceptable for my party but not thy party.”
[T]his week has provided welcome flashes of independence from at least a few Republican lawmakers.
As for the rest of the Republican conference, it is increasingly, and depressingly, difficult to imagine what level of presidential outrage it would take to spur these lackeys to stand up for the integrity of their institution, much less the American people.