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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 PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses 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 AlexanderThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience The Memo: Trump election loss roils right 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 GrahamSpokesperson says Tennessee Democrat made 'poor analogy' in saying South Carolina voters have extra chromosome Former Graham challenger Jaime Harrison launches political action committee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience 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 TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race 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 McConnellImmigration, executive action top Biden preview of first 100 days Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report 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