Real power is fear. So said Donald Trump in the thick of the 2016 presidential race.
He’s carried the dictum into the White House. Since taking office, President Trump has used fear as a cudgel both to cow top administration officials and intimidate Republican lawmakers loath to see him endorse an opponent in party primaries. To date, he has largely succeeded. Crossing Trump risks alienating a Republican base beholden to him alone. By one count, 35 of the 37 Republican candidates Trump endorsed won their midterm-election primaries.
In light of Trump’s grip on the party rank and file, the spectacle unfolding in the Republican-controlled Senate this week is all the more surprising. A sufficient number of Republican senators are poised to break with Trump, and band with the Democrats, to defy the president on policy. And not just any policy, but one that was the centerpiece of his campaign: building a border wall.
[Read: The alarming scope of the president’s emergency powers]
On Thursday, the Senate is slated to vote on a resolution—already passed by the House—rejecting the national-emergency declaration that Trump invoked last month to tap billions of federal dollars for wall construction. Republican defections could number anywhere from a handful to the upper teens, White House officials estimate. So far, the GOP senators who have publicly come out in favor of the resolution include Rand Paul of Kentucky, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.
Resigned to the reality that the measure could very well pass, the White House has kept its lobbying muted. Vice President Mike Pence met with a few GOP senators in the Capitol this week. But one lawmaker in the room, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations, said Pence was mostly listening to their concerns …read more
Source:: The Atlantic – Politics