Rand Paul is ‘living up to conservative principles’ by opposing Trump’s emergency declaration, says GOP strategist

Republican strategist Lauren Claffey said Monday that Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulBooker, Harris have missed most Senate votes Trump vetoes measure ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Bottom line MORE (R-Ky.) is “living up to his conservative principles” after the senator said over the weekend that he will oppose Trump’s national emergency declaration to build the southern border wall.

“Do you feel like he’s turning back on the Republican Party or is he actually living up to his conservative principles?” Hill.TV’s Jamal Simmons asked during a panel discussion.

“I think living up to conservative principles,” Claffey responded.

“I probably break with some Trump supporters on this — or a lot of Trump supporters on this in that I don’t think the declaration is a good idea,” she continued, adding that presidents typically invoke emergency powers to impose sanctions or declare imminent dangers like a public health crisis.  

The strategist predicted that more Republicans like Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar Alexander Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 GOP senators divided on Trump trade pushback Five things to know about the measles outbreak MORE (R-Tenn.) will show a willingness to break with the president.

“There are still some senators out there who were elected in their own right and some of them are doing what Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars DOJ: Dem subpoena for Mueller report is 'premature and unnecessary' Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions MORE is doing, which is moving into a more traditional Trump supporter stance,” Claffey told Hill.TV. “But then you still have the Rand Pauls, Lamar Alexander is retiring…there’s some that are more willing to break with him.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE is facing a potential revolt among Senate Republicans over his decision to declare a national emergency over his long promised border wall.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Mueller report is a deterrent to government service Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Anti-smoking advocates question industry motives for backing higher purchasing age MORE (R-Ky.) is expected to give a resolution blocking Trump’s emergency declaration a vote before the March 15 recess.

Alexander last week publicly urged Trump to back down from his demands for the physical barrier and reverse his emergency declaration.

“He’s got sufficient funding without a national emergency, he can build a wall and avoid a dangerous precedent,” the retiring senator said during a floor speech.

The Republican, however, did not actually say he would vote for a resolution of disapproval of the emergency declaration.

—Tess Bonn