The White House is bracing for an embarrassing rebuke when the Senate votes on a resolution to overturn President Trump’s national emergency declaration Thursday. Despite the pressure campaign they waged for the last week, Trump’s top aides now say as many as 14 Republican lawmakers are poised to break with the President.
Trump has told his staff he’s resigned to issuing his first veto after it became clear over the past day that enough Republicans will support the measure. Now, his focus is stemming the margin by which the bill will pass. Trump hopes the number of “yes” votes will stay below 60, a symbolic margin that he believes would save some embarrassment though still require him to use his veto pen.
In internal conversations, Trump has characterized the vote as a loyalty test, even though some of those who say they will vote for it — including Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul — have proven to be allies on other issues in the past. Even as members of his staff were focused Wednesday on managing the Boeing plane crisis, Trump himself remained preoccupied with the looming vote, according to people who spoke with him.
Trump had accepted the likely defeat, but remained intent on knowing who would vote with him and who would break ranks.