Why Trump didn’t stop a GOP revolt on his border emergency

Why Trump didn’t stop a GOP revolt on his border emergency

The Republican revolt on the Senate floor followed a haphazard and erratic persuasion effort from President Donald Trump. | Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images national emergency Why Trump didn’t stop a GOP revolt on his border emergency The president’s haphazard persuasion efforts led to an embarrassing rebuff on the Senate floor. By BURGESS EVERETT and ELIANA JOHNSON 03/14/2019 06:26 PM EDT Updated 03/14/2019 07:19 PM EDT 2019-03-14T07:19-0400 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter On Thursday morning, Donald Trump sent out a pointed missive ahead of the Senate’s vote to block his emergency declaration: “A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!“ Soon after, White House aides began blasting the tweet to GOP senators by text message to remind them of how the president viewed the impending vote, according to senators and aides who received the messages.Story Continued Below The last-minute lobbying did little to quell a Republican rebellion that eventually arrived in eye-popping numbers: a full dozen GOP senators joining Democrats in voting to overturn Trump’s unilateral move to fund his border wall. It didn’t have to be that way, Republicans say, especially if Trump had engaged more consistently with senators and made a relatively modest agreement to change the National Emergencies Act to rein in presidential power. It was also a reminder that White House aides have long acknowledged the futility of speaking for or negotiating on the president’s behalf, a position they are now openly conveying to lawmakers: passing along his tweets rather than attempting to twist arms or hash out a compromise themselves. Keep up with POLITICO Playbook The 2020 Election. The New Congress. The Mueller Investigation. Be in the Know. Email Sign Up By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time. “He quite possibly could have gotten 50 senators voting no,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who led the failed effort to get Trump to agree to changes to the 1976 National Emergencies Act in exchange for his support. The Republican revolt on the Senate floor followed a haphazard and erratic persuasion effort from Trump that offers a vivid encapsulation of how this White House has struggled to influence Congress. In the days leading up to the vote, the president initially made few moves to try to stem GOP defections. Trump told senators that he knew they wouldn’t be able to override his veto and appeared to see little upside to cutting a deal on his signature issue. He made little effort to whip wavering GOP senators during a Wednesday afternoon meeting on trade, and said they could vote however they pleased. Yet by Wednesday evening he had grown disturbed by the brewing condemnation from his own party. That night, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Ben Sasse of Nebraska arrived at the White House virtually unannounced but eager to discuss the impending vote and find a way for them to vote against the resolution. The senators, who gave little advance notice of their intention to drop in on the president, found him having dinner in the White House dining room. “They called to say they were on their way and insisting to see the president,” said a senior White House aide. A second West Wing official complained about “trespassers” in the White House.
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