Other than those two Senators the Senate officially undermined President Trump’s negotiating position.
Only the two Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee wanted to leave Donald Trump room to deal with the European nations to live up to their treaty obligations.
The Hill reports, “Senate votes to support NATO ahead of Trump summit.”
Lawmakers […] overwhelmingly voted in favor of a motion supporting NATO, as President Trump continues to criticize the alliance […].
The nonbinding motion, which came as the Senate voted to reconcile its version of the annual defense policy bill with that of the House, expresses the Senate’s support for NATO and calls on negotiators to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to it.
The 97-2 vote in the Senate comes as Trump heads to Brussels. […]
GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) voted against the measure.
The Senate was doing all it could, by that vote, to undermine President Donald Trump’s leverage to negotiate with the European NATO contries to live up to their treaty obligations. The only way that he can get them to change their way is to be able to convince them that he might be willing to walk away from the deal himself.
The Senate is telling deadbeat Europe, “Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Donald Trump won’t be president forever.”
What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment? The U.S. is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2018
Why is the U.S. Senate pushing to expand NATO when most of them aren’t even paying their fair share? I stand with @realDonaldTrump. Today, I blocked a resolution that applauds and calls for the expansion of NATO.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 10, 2018
The Senate is the central refuge of Never Trump establishment GOP power. I fully expect many of them to endorse a Republican challenger in 2020.
Of course, while Mike Lee and Rand Paul were heroic, not all the Republican Senators interpreted the vote as a way to constrain President Trump.
Axios quotes a couple of them, showing a contrast:
–Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch: “I think sometimes he can be a little too critical of the other counterparts, and I don’t think he should be critical,” per ABC.
–Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado defended Trump on Fox News, saying, “I think he’s simply trying to say to our great NATO allies and friends, ‘Let’s make sure that we’re all rowing in the same direction, so to speak. Let’s make sure that we’re living up to our expectations and obligations,'” per Think Progress.
So Gardner claims to support what Trump is doing. I believe him but I don’t think he should have allowed his name to be part of the pro-NATO motion.
Hatch on the other hand wants President Trump to stop being “critical.” Then how is he supposed to get our “allies and friends” to contribue what they promished and not leave us holding the bag?
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