The 59-41 Senate vote Thursday to reject Donald Trump’s national emergency power grab yielded two seemingly conflicting revelations. First, Trump is losing some control over his party, with fully a dozen GOP Senators defecting on the vote. To be clear, that’s a total embarrassment—even though Trump doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to actually feel embarrassment. Second, despite those 12 defections, 41 GOP senators just sold their Article I responsibilities down the river. In other words, having them in office is useless because they’re nothing more than a rubber stamp for Trump, full stop, even when he’s usurping powers that have been constitutionally bestowed on Congress.
As the Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin noted, “If Trump told them 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?”
Of course, of those 41 Republicans, several deserve extra derision for going above and beyond to sell their souls to a man that fully two-thirds of voters think is a criminal. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, who authored an op-ed explaining in detail why he would vote against Trump, ultimately found the idea of standing on principle and inviting a primary challenge just too harrowing. So instead, he abandoned his oath of office and curled up into a fetal position—it wouldn’t be surprising to find him sucking his thumb somewhere in Tar Heel country right now. Other Republican senators who got beaten into submission by the prospect of tough 2020 re-elections include Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Martha McSally of Arizona. Their votes may insulate them from a primary, but all four of them just forfeited any claim in the general election that they will serve as a check on Trump. No. They. Won’t.
Oh, and then there are the three bozos who went to the White House the night before the vote to stage a late-night intervention, got completely rebuffed by Trump, and then voted with him anyway. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Ted Cruz of Texas reportedly interrupted Trump and Melania’s dinner (gasp) to make a case for rewriting the national emergency order so it wouldn’t steal money from any military projects. Here’s what happened next, per the New York Times.