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 PaulTrump faces new hit on deficit Overnight Defense: US shoots down Iranian drone | Pentagon sending 500 more troops to Saudi Arabia | Trump mulls Turkey sanctions | Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin 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 Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Republicans make U-turn on health care Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid 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 GrahamScarborough sounds alarm on political 'ethnic cleansing' after Trump rally The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally 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 TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally Third Kentucky Democrat announces challenge to McConnell 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