White House officials have let it be known they are “disappointed” in Rep. Matt Gaetz’s vote Thursday in favor of a Democrat resolution seeking to limit the president’s power to wage war without Congressional approval.
The vote on the nonbinding resolution was essentially meaningless, in line with what Dems are adept at. But there are multiple reports in the media that administration officials are indignant about one of President Trump’s staunchest allies in the House taking the side of Democrats on the war powers issue.
Beyond his own vote, Gaetz emailed other Republicans lobbying them to join him in voting for the resolution, angering the president and his staff.
One senior White House official told the Washington Post that it was “super uncool” and “quite unwise” for the congressman to vote with House Democrats on Thursday on the issue that was pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “This person added that White House officials would not be returning Gaetz’s phone calls, text messages, ‘smoke signals or his kneelings in the snow,'” according to the Post story.
“The Trump administration was disappointed in the congressman’s vote and is hopeful that, as the president’s foreign policy continues to unfold, he will reconsider his points of view,” the administration’s head of legislative affairs Eric Ueland, told the paper.
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted that Trump was “not thrilled, but his advisers were incensed,” about Gaetz’s position on the matter.
A number of potus aides were angrier than potus was about this. He wasn’t thrilled, but his advisers were incensed. https://t.co/ooVPefUZjq
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 11, 2020
Gaetz made several attempts to explain his vote. On the House floor on Thursday, he insisted his vote was not a criticism of Trump. “I take a back seat to no member of this body when it comes to defending the president,” he said. “This resolution offers no criticism of the president, no critique. It doesn’t criticize the president’s attack on Soleimani. As a matter of fact, this resolution doesn’t even say Soleimani’s name in it. Yet it does articulate our very robust basis for self-defense — at times even preemptory self-defense to defend our troops.
“If the members of our armed services have the courage to go and fight and die in these wars, as Congress, we ought to have the courage to vote for them or against them,” Gaetz continued. “I support the president. Killing Soleimani was the right decision — but engaging in another forever-war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision, and that’s why I’m voting for this resolution.”
I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington.
If our servicemembers have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them.
I’m voting for this resolution. pic.twitter.com/cSCBG7CmIm
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 9, 2020
The resolution passed by a vote of 224-194, mostly along party lines. Two other GOP members of the House crossed the aisle with Gaetz to vote for the resolution–Tom Massie and Francis Rooney.
Gaetz’s move was an unusual shock to the often predictable party-line existence of present-day congressional life, as he is viewed as one of a handful of the most pro-Trump members of Congress.
He took to Twitter on Friday to declare that he is still “the Trumpiest.”
(1) Still proudly the Trumpiest. I enjoy the President’s support and he enjoys mine.
(2) I was “very shocked” when @GOPLeader voted against @realDonaldTrump on the Turkey/Kurds/Syria Resolution where history has clearly shown @potus to be right and McCarthy & Dems wrong. https://t.co/UDkJmGMFsG
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 10, 2020
Watch Gaetz explain to Tucker Carlson why he voted the way he did …
Video by Fox News
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