Now there are four: Are more wavering?
Ohio’a Rob Portman Monday became the fourth Republican Senator to admit president Donald Trump’s use of his office to seek help from Ukraine and China to investigate a political appointment is “inappropriate.”
Portman joins Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Susan Collins of Maine to break from the Republican ranks in the Senate and raise questions about Trump’s actions that led to a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump.
“We now have cracks in the wall,” says one GOP senior staff member in the Senate. “Will it start crumbling?”
While Portman admits Trump’s actions are “not appropriate,” he still claims he does not see them as “impeachable offenses” and feels the House “rushed to impeachment assuming things.”
But Trump is running into increasing questions from his one-solid wall of support from the GOP Senate. Majority leader Mitch McConnell Monday joined a rare bi-partisan group of Republican and Democratic Senator in rebuking Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. troopers from Syria.
“A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said in a statement. “And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
McConnell says it is time for Trump to “exercise American leadership” by reconsidering his plans to pull troops back from the Syrian-Turkey border. Other Republicans in the Senate agree.
“This betrayal of the Kurds will also severely harm our credibility as an ally the world over,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) said. “President Trump should rethink this decision immediately.”
Democrats have also condemned the withdrawal plans but the growing Republican opposition shows a new area of concern from Republicans.
“The Trump has made a great administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications,” said Sen. GOP Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“So sad. So dangerous” says usually staunch Trump ally Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Twitter. “President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us.”
At least one Republican says criticism of the Syria move wile standing fast with Trump on the Ukraine debacle that has resulted in formal impeachment probes is hypocritical, at best.
“The Ukraine issue is personal, it is a real threat to the president, and a lot of Republicans know they will face his wrath if they defy him,” former congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), a critic of Trump who was ousted in the 2018 midterms, tells The Washington Post. “The issue of our presence in Syria is more obviously a substantive policy issue, where it’s safer to disagree with the president. If Republicans want to be consistent, they should speak out about both.”
“They can speak up, but they can’t so anything,” says former senator Judd Gregg (R-NH).
One thing it has done is bring Republicans and Democrats together in a rare bipartisan rebuke of Trump.
McConnell says 68 Senators voted to rebuke Trump in January when he threatened to withdraw troops from Syria — a majority that overrides a presidential veto.
“The conditions that produced that bipartisan vote still exist today,” he says.
A joint statement from Sen. Romney (R-Utah) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) adds:
Barring a reversal of this decision, the Administration must come before Congress and explain how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests.
With four Republican Senators also now saying Trump’s actions with Ukraine and China in asking for help to discredit former Vice President Joe Biden are “inappropriate” and “out of line,” some wonder if Trump’s hold on the GOP is weakening.
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