President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE on Thursday made a last-ditch effort to stymie the Senate’s expected rebuke of his national emergency declaration at the southwest border, as Republican support for the measure grew.
In a series of morning tweets, Trump renewed his veto threat against a resolution of disapproval senators are scheduled to vote on Thursday afternoon and defended the legality of declaring an emergency to build a border wall without approval from Congress.
The president also floated the possibility of agreeing to changes to the national-emergency law “at a later date,” a proposal floated by Republican senators to avert the standoff, but framed the vote as an ideological litmus test on immigration for the GOP.
“A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJudge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech GOP lawmaker calls for Meghan, Harry to lose royal titles over paid leave push MORE, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” Trump tweeted.
Prominent legal scholars agree that our actions to address the National Emergency at the Southern Border and to protect the American people are both CONSTITUTIONAL and EXPRESSLY authorized by Congress....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
....If, at a later date, Congress wants to update the law, I will support those efforts, but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
The repeated warnings, however, appeared to do little to stem the tide of GOP defections. Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIn Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature The Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government MORE (R-Utah) both announced Thursday morning they would vote for the resolution, joining five other Republican senators who say they will as well.
Speaking to reporters later at the White House, Trump appeared resigned to the resolution’s passage but expressed confidence it will not be approved with a veto-proof majority.
“I’ll probably have to veto and it’s not going to be overturned,” he said.
Even if the Senate passes the resolution with strong Republican support, it would worsen the sting for Trump, who has made the border wall his signature issue and harangued members of his own party to support his effort to build it. The Democrat-controlled House has already approved the resolution, meaning Trump will be forced to use his veto powers for the first time.
Lawmakers in both parties believe Trump exceeded his authority when he invoked his emergency powers to obtain money for the wall after Congress refused to grant his request for billions of dollars in funding, which had triggered a 35-day government shutdown that dealt a political blow to the GOP.
Despite their constitutional concerns, a number of Republican senators have tried to stave off a direct confrontation with the president that could deepen an intra-party rift on the issue of immigration.
Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (R-Texas), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case MORE (R-S.C.) and Ben SasseBen SasseNearly 200 Americans want to leave Afghanistan, State Department tells Congress Trump goes after Cassidy after senator says he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Invoking 'Big Tech' as an accusation can endanger American security MORE (R-Neb.) reportedly made a surprise visit to the White House on Wednesday night to pitch the president on a compromise plan that could have satisfied the concerns of their colleagues.
But a White House lawyer informed the lawmakers the plan would not work, according to The Washington Post, and Trump forged ahead with his veto threats.
“The legal scholars all say it’s totally constitutional,” Trump said during a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. “It’s really a border security vote. It’s pure and simple. It’s a vote for border security. It’s a vote for no crime.”
Trump also suggested that sticking with him on the vote would help the GOP win voters in the 2020 election, even though polls show most voters disapprove of the emergency declaration.
“I think it’s going to be a great election issue,” he said.
Vice President Pence and White House aides have also been working behind the scenes to prevent GOP defections. Pence visited GOP senators on Capitol Hill this week and Trump has spoken by phone with several of them, according to White House officials.
But Trump has only been willing to go so far to address Republicans’ concerns. He personally shot down a proposal floated by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCawthorn, Lee introduce bills banning interstate travel vaccine mandate Retreating economy creates new hurdle for Democrats in 2022 McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' MORE (R-Utah) that would have curtailed the president’s emergency powers in exchange for GOP senators’ votes against the resolution.
Lee announced he would vote for the resolution on Wednesday shortly after hearing from Trump that the plan was a non-starter.
GOP Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (Ky.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse passes bill to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers Democrats look for plan B on filibuster Senate will vote on John Lewis voting bill as soon as next week MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (Maine) have also said they will vote for the resolution and Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema Advocates frustrated by shrinking legal migration under Biden MORE (R-N.C.) has indicated he will vote in favor of it as well.
The Senate is expected to vote in the afternoon shortly after Trump visits the Capitol with Varadar for the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon with members of Congress to mark St. Patrick’s Day.
It comes one day after the Senate voted to end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, another break between Trump and the Republican-led Senate that has traditionally supported his policies.