So much for the notion that Donald Trump was doing something smart by tossing the Democrats in Congress a few freebies just to spite the Republicans. The mainstream media almost universally hailed Trump’s move a sign of his savvy and independence. But as was obvious from the start, all it did was embolden the Democrats to flex their muscles, while motivating the Republicans to strike back at him. Sure enough, the Senate has now unanimously voted to back Trump into a corner.
Two Democrats and two Republicans came together to co-sponsor legislation which condemns white supremacists and calls on Trump and his administration to do the same (link). It ended up passing unanimously. It’s not that any Senate Republicans would ever have been willing to vote against something like this – but there was a time when they might have quietly killed it in committee to save Trump the embarrassment of having to swallow it. That time has now clearly passed.
Assuming the House also passes the legislation, it’ll force Trump to either sign it or veto it. He would look absolutely terrible vetoing it, so he’ll likely have to go ahead and sign it. In so doing, he’ll be officially calling on his administration and cabinet to publicly condemn white supremacists. This will serve to hurt Trump in two ways.
For one thing, it’ll cause chagrin for someone like Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a white supremacist. But perhaps more importantly, this sends a clear signal to Trump’s racist base that he’s willing to abandon them in the desperate hope of cowering to a mainstream that already irrevocably despises him. This move will serve to make Trump even weaker – and every Republican Senator just signed off on it. If the war between Trump and the GOP continues, this may be just the beginning of what the party might do to him legislatively.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report