Trump backed away from his most egregious violation of the emoluments clause yet because of Republican pushback:
He knew he was inviting criticism by choosing his own luxury golf club in Miami for the site of a gathering of world leaders at the Group of 7 summit in June, President Trump told his aides opposed to the choice, and he was prepared for the inevitable attack from Democrats.
But what Mr. Trump was not prepared for was the reaction of fellow Republicans who said his choice of the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line, and they couldn’t defend it.
So Mr. Trump did something that might not have been a surprise for a president facing impeachment but that was unusual for him: He reversed himself Saturday night, abruptly ending the uproar touched off two days earlier by the announcement of his decision by Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff.
“He had no choice,” Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and longtime friend of the president’s, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It shouldn’t have been done in the first place. And it’s a good move to get out of it and get that out of the papers and off the news.”
The president first heard the criticism of his choice of the Doral watching TV, where even some Fox News personalities were disapproving. By Saturday afternoon, his concerns had deepened when he put in a call to Camp David, where Mr. Mulvaney was hosting moderate congressional Republicans for a discussion of issues facing them, including impeachment, and was told the consensus was he should reverse himself. Those moderates are among the votes Mr. Trump would need to stick with him during an impeachment.
A couple points:
- This shows that Republicans can, at least some of the time, go against Trump without significant fear of political reprisal, and they can have an effect when they do so. They generally haven’t done it because they don’t want to, not because they can’t. They’ve been active collaborators, not cowards.
- As someone who was a skeptic about the politics of impeachment, I have to say that an overwhelming amount of evidence has accured on the side of the pro-impeachment argument. Public opinion has become more supportive, and it does seem to have concentrated the minds of some Republicans who don’t want to be made to look too ridiculous when they vote against it and had a marginally constraining effect on Trump.