After the U.S. Senate voted 59-41 on Thursday to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration at the border, some of Trump’s supporters might well have hoped for profanity in his next tweet.
For anyone with such hopes, the tweet would have come as a let-down. Trump did tweet just one word, but it was a Latin word meaning “I forbid,” now in common use in English.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
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The New York Post points out that Trump has promised all along to veto any such resolution from Congress.
Trump had repeatedly vowed to veto the resolution, which means that barring successful court challenges by environmentalists, border landowners or others, he will be able to shuffle billions in Defense Department spending to begin construction of his long-promised wall.
The Senate would need 67 votes to override the veto, and no one expects eight more Republicans to defect and vote against Trump’s emergency declaration. Trump has been confident of that throughout the tense period since he declared the emergency:
“I’ll do a veto. It’s not going to be overturned. It’s a border security vote,” Trump told reporters during an unrelated White House event.
Trump’s point that this was effectively a border security vote is a reminder that political calculation probably went into it for all of the Republicans voting with the Democrats to invalidate the emergency. Few of the anti-emergency votes came from conservative Republicans who face reelection in 2020 and/or expect a primary challenge. Moreover, the senators had reason to take the president at his word that he would veto the Senate resolution. In terms of how it would actually affect using existing funds to construct more stretches of fencing, the answer is that it won’t.
It was thus a relatively cost-free vote for the Republican defectors. Lawmakers like Rand Paul and Mike Lee, who have said their concern is the use of executive authority — and not a desire to block construction of a wall — were able to take a stand without actually blocking the wall.
In addition to Mitt Romney (R-UT), Fox News listed the other GOP defectors:
The other Republicans who voted to oppose the declaration were Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Roy Blunt, [R]-Mo., Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.