Less than one month after President Donald Trump was elected and more than two months before he was inaugurated, the media was already speculating about how the real opposition to the new Commander in Chief might come from fellow Republicans.
On November 22, 2016, Reuters reported:
It is no surprise that Democrats in the U.S. Congress will oppose Donald Trump but the most important resistance to fulfilling the president-elect’s agenda is beginning to emerge from Republicans on Capitol Hill.
South Carolina’s Lindsay Graham has started publicly outlining places he might be willing to oppose Trump. He is against the Mexican border wall and is delivering warnings against Trump’s intention to revoke legal status for undocumented immigrants brought here as children – although that would not require congressional approval.
“Republicans will soon hold the reins of the White House, the House and Senate for the first time in 10 years,” the narration on a Reuter’s video from last November states. “But the trifecta doesn’t automatically mean a blank check for Donald Trump get what he wants.”
The four lawmakers most likely “to cause trouble” are Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the video narrator states.
When President Trump issued an executive order to temporarily restrict people from terror-ridden countries from traveling to the United States, McCain spoke out against it.
McCain also cast the now infamous “no” vote that caused the Republican’s legislation to repeal Obamacare to go belly up.
And in that post-election story Reuters published, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was also cited as someone who could prevent Trump from achieving his campaign promises. In Graham’s case, he publicly outlined his opposition to the president’s agenda, including favoring legislation to give amnesty to some 800,000 young illegal aliens who have been protected by the Obama era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Graham also said he would oppose any effort by Trump to improve U.S. ties with Russia.
“I am going to be kind of a hard-ass” on Russia, Graham told reporters.
Reuters reported last November:
The early stirrings of opposition from Senate Republicans are a sign that the New York businessman, who has never held public office, might run into harsh political realities soon after taking office on Jan. 20.
Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called off votes because legislation passed by the House might not make it through the Republican-controlled Senate, including funding a wall on the U.S. southern border with Mexico and restrictions on abortion, according to media reports.
Over the summer, Senate Republicans made sure that Trump could not make any recess appointments, including one at the time that might be made to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
The Washington Examiner reported in July:
Senate Republicans are committed to blocking President Trump from bypassing the confirmation process and replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with a recess appointment.
Indeed, as one Senate Republican explained to the Washington Examiner on Thursday, Senate Republicans made a collective decision in January to prevent Trump from making any recess appointment to his administration. That means the president is foreclosed from sidestepping Senate confirmation and replacing Sessions unilaterally during Congress’ upcoming August recess.
“Recess appointments have never been an option for Trump,” the unnamed Republican senator said.
Last June, the opposition to putting Trump’s agenda in place was painted in much broader strokes when Politico reported that Congress “is providing a check on Trump’s powers.”
It may not be happening as swiftly or as comprehensively as some Democrats might like, but the legislative branch is making its weight felt in the Trump era in a manner that, if it continues, bids fair to leave Trump with a reputation as an extraordinarily weak modern president.
Just last month, the New Yorker reported that Tim Miller, former spokesperson for Jeb Bush, said there is a lot Republicans could do “to counter the negative effects of Trump.”
Those include limiting executive order authority and restricting Trump’s ability take military action by revisiting the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which Congress put in place following the 9/11 terror attacks.
Miller also said Republicans could raise ethical issues related to Trump, including “ending the practice of government officials using taxpayer money to pay any organization that is owned by a family member.”
At least one Republican stated his opposition to Trump even before his election.
“The chairman of the RNC must look out for the good of the party as a whole, so he should be working to get Trump to step down,” Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) said in October 2016.