Congressional Republicans reacted to Donald Trump’s big Super Tuesday by threatening to disobey him if the billionaire wins the White House.
These mostly Republican hawks say the GOP front-runner’s bombastic remarks about torturing terrorists and killing the family members of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters would violate the Geneva Conventions. And Trump’s vow to “bomb the s—” out of ISIS-controlled oil fields could have unintended consequences, they say.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, a retired four-star general, has suggested that U.S. military commanders could simply ignore a President Trump if he tried to follow through with some of his campaign promises.
Retiring Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), a Marine Corps Reserve veteran who represents a military-heavy district based in Virginia Beach, penned a scathing letter Tuesday urging fellow Republicans to dump Trump. He warned that the billionaire businessman lacks the “judgment, temperament and character” to be commander in chief.
And Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force Reserve pilot who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, vowed he would disobey Trump’s orders if they violated the law.
There is not a much louder message that Republicans can send to their voters than suggesting that if they put Donald Trump in the White House, they will ignore him. This is not an empty threat. Republicans in Congress disobeyed George W. Bush on immigration reform, and they liked him. Imagine what congressional Republicans who already can’t stand Donald Trump will do if the billionaire wins the White House.
A Trump presidency would be an even bigger disaster for the Republican Party than a Trump nomination. As President, Trump would be the undisputed leader of the party. Trump would be the Republican brand. It is easy to see anti-Trump Republicans joining with Congressional Democrats to stifle completely and deny Donald Trump any success as president.
Republicans have demonstrated that they are skilled at the dark art of obstruction. Ironically, Trump could find himself facing the same obstruction and inability to get anything that he has blamed on President Obama’s “poor leadership and dealmaking skills.” The disconnect between Trump voters and the rest of the Republican Party illustrates the reality that there are really three political parties in this country. There are Democrats and the two warring factions of the GOP. Republicans won’t have to worry about what to do if Trump wins, because if the party keeps fighting with their frontrunner, Democrats could waltz to the White House and a Senate majority this November.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association