Trump's GOP Impeachment Firewall Holds Strong

President Trump has had a rough couple of weeks, but his Republican wall of defense is holding in the Senate.

Senate Republicans by and large are standing by Trump despite polls showing growing public support for impeachment, even among GOP voters.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have criticized Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he pressed for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic candidate for president. But none has endorsed the House impeachment inquiry.

The Ukraine controversy, which has been the impetus of the House’s impeachment inquiry, comes amid other negative headlines for the White House. Members of both parties have ripped Trump’s recent decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, and last week two associates of Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani were arrested for alleged campaign finance violations in a probe that is not yet complete.

Regardless, Republican aides and strategists say it would be a political mistake for a GOP lawmaker to take on Trump publicly.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, you just keep your mouth shut and see how the cards fall,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

O’Connell said there is broad recognition among Republican lawmakers that their political fates are tied to Trump in 2020. Even in states that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016, Trump will be crucial to mobilizing the GOP base, and a public spat with the president over Twitter could prove devastating. Bucking Trump could also trigger primary challengers to Republican senators who are up for reelection next year.

“Their entire political livelihood is dependent on Donald Trump winning in 2020. So unless there’s some enormous smoking gun that no one foresaw — and certainly that’s not the case right now — they’re going to stick with Trump,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2019-10-15 11:23:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy