The GOP: Rebelling against Trump
“They passed legislation to stop him from lifting sanctions on Russia,” said Mike DeBonis in WashingtonPost.com. They recoiled at his decision to ban transgender soldiers and “warned him in no uncertain terms not to fire the attorney general.” Republicans have begun openly defying President Trump “in meaningful ways,” amid growing frustration with the president’s “erratic behavior and willingness to trample on governing norms.” In the boldest move yet, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he will introduce legislation that would prevent Trump from firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. It remains to be seen whether these moves will precipitate “a Barry Goldwater Watergate moment,” said Bob Cesca in Salon.com, “in which Republican leadership hikes down the block to insist upon Trump’s resignation.” But it’s increasingly clear that “leading Republicans are souring on Trump at last.”
For that, Trump has only himself to blame, said Charles Krauthammer in NationalReview.com. His “deeply repellent’’ public humiliation of his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, “has caused the first crack in Trump’s base.’’ Trump is furious that Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, so he has repeatedly mocked him as “weak’’ and threatened to fire him. But during the campaign, Sessions was his earliest Senate supporter, and has enacted strong pro-law enforcement and anti-immigration policies. Trump voters who admire Sessions are now “peeling off,’’ with polls showing strong approval for Trump shrinking. That has emboldened some Republicans, who until now feared provoking the wrath of Trump fans if they stood up to the president.
Hard-core Trump supporters will probably welcome the GOP revolt, said Rod Dreher in TheAmericanConservative.com. They voted for the brash real estate mogul because they wanted him to stick it to the GOP establishment. In their eyes, this growing rift might finally free up Trump to pursue his populist agenda “unbound by Republican orthodoxy.” That sounds good in theory, said Susan Page in USA Today. But Trump has so alienated Democrats that he has little hope of getting any votes from that side of the aisle. “At war with both Republicans and Democrats,” Trump is in danger of becoming “a president without a party.” Without strong Republican support, how can he govern? ■