Conservative commentators angrily called out Republican senators who on Thursday continued to back President Donald Trump by voting against a resolution overturning his border wall national emergency.
A dozen GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in approving the measure to reject Trump’s declaration. Trump tweeted he would “VETO!” the resolution.
High-profile writers on the right lambasted the Republicans who stood with Trump ― including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) ― on Twitter, on television and in opinion columns.
Bill Kristol, editor-in-chief of The Bulwark, tweeted a link to an op-ed that described the vote as “a stain on the GOP, the undoing of years of promises to America that they were the party of the rule of law, of the Constitution, of the separation of powers, and limited government.”
“That may have been true once,” wrote Andrew Egger in the piece shared by Kristol. “But those days are clearly over.”
Charlie Sykes, also of The Bulwark, told MSNBC’s “Hardball” that it was “certainly a beginning of something” that 12 GOP senators broke with Trump. But he criticized the “spinelessness” of Republicans who did not.
“It could have been bigger and it should have been bigger,” Sykes said. “Now I think that a lot of senators who understood this was an easy vote, this was a red line vote, and yet they chose to cave in, they chose to go along with the White House rather than the Constitution.”
Jennifer Rubin wrote in The Washington Post that “if Trump told” the Republicans who stood with him “to amend the Constitution and toss out the Bill of Rights, they’d likely do it.”
“After all, Article I means nothing to them, so why should any other portion of the Constitution?” added Rubin, who said the GOP had “sacrificed its principles and decency for … what? For the right to sit in the Senate, doing nothing? For fear that they cannot justify themselves to the mob Trump has drummed up?”
Rubin also predicted Trump’s presidential downfall:
In all likelihood, barring an act of political suicide by the Democrats (i.e., nominating an unelectable, self-described socialist), he’ll be out of office and facing prosecution in less than two years. And the Republicans who defended and enabled him? They’ll have gone down with the ship.
Michael Gerson, an ex-speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, did not comment on the vote itself. But in an op-ed for The Washington Post, he said a reality gap had opened up “between the GOP and the rest of our political culture.”
“The rift between Republican perceptions of the president and the view of the broader public” which has “grown into a chasm” was now “the main political context of the 2020 campaign,” he added.
Gerson also asked three questions of the GOP:
Why have Republicans fallen in line with a politician who has sometimes targeted their own party and leaders for populist disdain? Why have conservatives come to the defense of a leader with decidedly unconservative views on trade and foreign policy? Why have religious conservatives embraced the living, breathing embodiment of defining deviancy down?