Donald Trump’s threat to impose punitive tariffs against México last week exposed simmering cracks in the Republican-Trump relationship that were mostly kept under wraps until now. As I have written previously, the Republicans were content to stay out of the Trump controversies so long as Donald Trump continued to deliver on putting conservatives on the judicial benches and driving business-centric legislation reducing limitations on businesses. Simmering in the background was the GOP’s uncomfortable realization that Donald Trump was going to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, even after questions about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
The GOP seemed unconcerned that Trump was bypassing Congress because it did not directly affect their constituency.
However, the threat to impose punitive tariffs on México, which directly affected Republican economies like Texas, forced them to reconsider allowing Trump to bypass Congress. Although the México-US trade war has been somewhat averted for now, Donald Trump is still intent on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, although Congress, including many Republicans oppose the sale.
This time, instead of Republican background grumblings, two of Trump’s most vocal GOP supporters; Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul are publicly rebuking Trump. Both Graham and Paul have sponsored bills in Congress designed to stop Donald Trump from selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The Democrats in Congress will likely support any measure that stops Donald Trump from bypassing Congress.
Rand Paul has been quoted in the news media as stating that he expects Congress to pass 22 resolutions overwhelmingly blocking Trump from making the weapons sale. Likewise Graham co-sponsored a bill blocking the sale with Bob Menendez, in a rare public rebuke of Trump.
The Republicans feel they have the votes to veto-proof any attempt by Donald Trump to complete the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The stated opposition to the sale is the Khashoggi murder but the driving force is the Republican’s realization that allowing Donald Trump to continue to bypass Congress is dangerous to their base.
What makes this rebellion interesting is that Donald Trump is known to lash out against those that publicly oppose him, including Republicans. If Graham and Paul are successful in blocking the weapons sale, Trump will likely lash out, exposing an even deeper chasm between the Republicans and Trump.
The deeper the chasm between them the more likely impeachment proceedings are likely to be launched.