Elias Atienza, DCNF
Republicans critical of President Donald Trump, such as Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, have voted for Trump’s agenda more than Trump ally, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Sasse and Corker have emerged as prominent critics, especially against the president’s trade policy and Russian engagement. Sasse called on Trump to declare Russia an “enemy of America and her allies” just last week and criticized Trump for meeting with Putin in the first place.
A better thing, Mr. President, would be to declare: "Russia is the enemy of America and our allies, and we will expose and respond to their continued cyber-attacks against our nation." https://t.co/qNvgGRA58T
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) July 16, 2018
Corker has criticized Trump’s actions, such as the president’s decision to apply tariffs to American allies. Recently, Corker has tried to push through legislation that would stop the president from applying tariffs to American allies, according to Politico.
Paul has become President Trump’s greatest ally, at least in rhetoric, in recent weeks such as defending Trump’s Helsinki press conference and his decision to engage with Russia. Paul has derided criticism of Trump’s actions as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and has called for several prominent critics of Trump to lose their security clearance, such as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, according to the Daily Caller.
However, Sasse and Corker vote with Trump’s agenda over 80 percent of the time, with the main differences being in immigration and trade, according to FiveThirtyEight. Paul votes with Trump’s agenda the least among Republicans, with 75 percent votes being casted in favor of Trump’s position.
Most of Paul’s differences from Trump has come on the surveillance state and foreign policy, though Paul has tried to harness Trump’s distrust for his own intelligence agencies to try and reign in their power.
The NSA should immediately cease collecting American citizens’ data without a warrant. Let's stand up for the Fourth Amendment! https://t.co/aCyuIK8iM2
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 3, 2018
Paul also voted against both of Trump’s nominees to head the CIA and also voted against reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Corker and Sasse voted to reauthorize the controversial provision and supported Trump’s nominees.
In addition to this, Paul has signaled that he might put up a fight against Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, due to Kavanaugh’s record on the Fourth Amendment.
Corker has voted for short-term funding bills, all of which have been opposed by Paul and Sasse while being supported by Trump. However, Corker, Sasse and Paul all voted against the fiscal appropriations bills in both 2017 and 2018, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Corker, Sasse and Paul also all voted for a non-binding resolution that rebuked Trump’s reasoning for imposing tariffs and Paul recently criticized tariffs as taxes on American consumers and businesses in a tweet on Tuesday.
Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers — the answer is remove the tariffs.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 24, 2018
This pattern does not just apply to Paul. Paul’s allies in the House, such as Thomas Massie and Justin Amash, vote with Trump’s agenda the least as well, with most of their votes being against spending bills, re-authorization of surveillance and Trump’s foreign policy, according to FiveThirtyEight.
With the exception of Amash, Paul and his allies disagreements with Trump do not cross into regular criticism.
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