The Senate repudiating a president of the majority party on a matter of national security would be unusual under any circumstances. That it comes at a time when tensions with a major international foe are boiling over is nothing short of astonishing, a sign of how far President Trump has fallen as commander in chief even among Republicans.
The Post reports on the Senate’s vote to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia:
Trump has cited rising tensions with Iran as justification for using his emergency powers to complete the deals.
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), had initially filed 22 resolutions of disapproval against the sales — one for every contract the administration had expedited by emergency order, effectively sidestepping congressional opposition. But after weeks of negotiations, Senate leaders agreed to hold just three votes, which will encompass the substance of all the blocking resolutions, congressional aides said.
In other words, senators don’t believe the president is playing it straight on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which set off a firestorm regarding the Saudis on Capitol Hill. They do not believe in Trump’s policy of making Saudi Arabia a proxy in a battle with Iran over regional dominance. And, moreover, the Senate is willing to undercut Trump at the precise moment his credibility and judgment are under fire in a standoff with Iran.