On Thursday morning, President Trump sent out a pointed missive ahead of the Senate’s vote to block his emergency declaration: “A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” White House aides blasted the tweet to GOP senators by text message to remind them of how the president viewed the impending vote, Politico reports. The last-minute lobbying did little to quell a Republican rebellion: a full dozen GOP senators joining Democrats in voting to overturn Trump’s unilateral move to fund his border wall. The final vote was 59-41 against the declaration. It didn’t have to be that way, Republicans say, if Trump had engaged more consistently with senators and made a relatively modest agreement to change the National Emergencies Act to rein in presidential power.
Trump told senators he knew they wouldn’t be able to override his veto and appeared to see little upside to cutting a deal on his signature issue. He made little effort to persuade wavering GOP senators during a Wednesday afternoon meeting on trade, and said they could vote however they pleased. By Thursday morning, Trump had unleashed three tweets urging his party not to vote with Pelosi and making a lukewarm commitment to consider amending the National Emergencies Act. Republicans who disliked the emergency declaration were framing the disagreement as an epic battle to defend the Constitution and the separation of powers. Trump put things more simply: “Today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “A lot of the nuance is going to be lost in all of this. It’s going to be viewed in those sort of stark terms.”