It was no shock that Donald Trump’s impeachment trial was a sham that ended in an acquittal. But the verdict did not induce hordes of independent voters to adorn their lawns with Trump 2020 signs. Although Senator Mitt Romney’s vote to remove Trump triggered a backlash, yesterday’s War Powers Resolution vote proved that Romney’s resistance did not mark the end of Senate Republicans joining Democrats to stand up to Trump.
Eight Republican senators joined all Democrats to pass the resolution, 55-45, which prevents Trump from taking further hostile action against Iran without Congressional authority. Although the resolution also applies to future Presidents, it is a direct response to Trump’s order to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani last month that quickly led the House to vote in favor of a similar resolution.
The Senate’s resolution is not expected to survive a Trump veto, but it is an important bipartisan rebuke against Trump, especially in the wake of his acquittal and his lambasting of Romney. A similar resolution written in anticipation of Trump’s hostile actions failed last June, even though it was voted on months before Trump’s impeachment inquiry began.
The eight Republican senators who voted for the resolution are not heroes. They have much more to do before they can be honored as profiles in courage. But the fact that a resolution restraining Trump passed in Mitch McConnell’s Senate a week after Trump’s acquittal is significant. It is further proof that Trump did not gain a green light to be a dictator or usurp Congressional powers. The vote also squarely puts to bed the idea that no Republican would ever dare defy Trump again like Romney did.
The only foolproof way to ensure that Trump does not impulsively launch World War 3 is to ensure that this fool leaves office on January 20, if not sooner. Last summer, Trump proclaimed that Article 2 of the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want as President.” But the chair behind the Resolute desk is not a throne. The day Trump is legally required to give up that chair is the day the largest existential threat to American democracy and world peace will be indelibly removed.