Trump is learning what it feels like to be suddenly viewed as a paper tiger. Before the election, almost all Republicans would snap to attention when he said anything and would not dream of criticizing him even when he said and did the most outrageous things. But ever since it became clear that he lost and is on his way out, more and more Republicans, especially at the state and local levels, are feeling freer to defy him, especially when it comes to his demand that they overturn the results of the election.
Now it appears that even congressional Republicans, the most cowardly and unprincipled of the bunch, are growing at least a little bit of a spine. Earlier, all Trump had to do was threaten to veto a bill that he did not like for Republicans in the Senate to not even bring the bill forward for a vote. But now they have done so.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a sweeping defense bill with a veto-proof majority after a veto threat from President Donald Trump sharply divided Republican lawmakers, forcing them to choose between loyalty to him and legislation that sets defense policy for the country.
The vote, which broke down to 335-78, is a major rebuke to the President.
The National Defense Authorization Act will next head to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass with bipartisan support, though it is not yet clear if it will similarly reach a veto-proof majority in the chamber.
If the House ends up voting to override a presidential veto, that vote could be far narrower, however, because at least some Republicans are likely to change their votes in order to sustain a veto.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said that he would vote in favor of the bill, but would vote to sustain a veto, insisted that Republican House members will back the President if he vetoes the legislation.
“I think they would stand with the President,” he said when asked if there would be enough GOP votes to sustain the President’s position.
So McCarthy and some others are trying to have it both ways, passing bill over a threatened veto, thus angering Trump, but saying that they will vote to sustain the veto, thus trying to appease him. This makes no sense of course. Either you want a bill to pass or you don’t. If you know that Trump does not like it but pass it anyway, what’s the point of changing your vote later?
Let’s see if Trump does go ahead and veto the bill and risk having it overridden as a final kick in the pants as he goes out the door.
Of course, it is no accident that this one sign of defiance is over a bill to shovel money to the defense department, that sacred cow of US politics that both parties compete to see how much they cab feed into its insatiable gaping mouth so that taxpayers can continue to fund profiteering by the weapons and technology companies while waging war on other countries,