Donald Trump’s presidency has given rise to a wave of frustration and dissatisfaction within the Senate and the House. Nearly a year into the current term, the number of Republican representatives has reduced significantly. Therefore, Democrats may be looking forward to the 2018 elections. However, politics shouldn’t only be about party representation, but also about how these representatives make decisions for the people of their constituency. It is unfortunate that these Senators feel like they can help their constituency more by being absent from the current political climate.
Dave Trott, a Republican congressman from Michigan, told Politico that Trump’s administration was a “disaster.” Representative Dave Trott was one of the rst Michigan Republicans to support Trump during the 2016 election cycle. Comments like these show how exasperated and deeply frustrated the Republicans are with President Trump. Moreover, Jason Chaffetz, a Republican congressman from Utah and chairman of the House of Oversight Committee, announced his resignation from congress at the end of June. Pat Tiberi, a Republican congressman from Ohio and a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, also announced his plans to retire at the end of January. Republican representatives Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Sam Johnson of Texas and Dave Reichert of Washington have also announced their retirement plans. Most signi cantly, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona announced their resignation plans in late October.
The surge of Republican representatives dropping out of the 2018 race is astonishing. That being said, this is the primary way these representatives can publicly oppose President Trump. This is their opportunity to show their dissatisfaction with the pandemonium in the White House. Chris Ladd, a York Township Republican committeeman, explains in his Huffington Post article his distaste for the uncharacteristically reckless political climate in Washington. “From his fairy- tale wall to his schoolyard bullying and his flirtation with violent racists, Donald Trump offers America a singular narrative: a tale of cowards.”
Ladd goes on to say that “working with others gives us power, but at the cost of constant, calculated compromise.” This concept is fundamental when understanding and evaluating politics. No two people will agree on everything, and compromise is imperative. So when Republican senators like Senator Bob Corker chose to resign, it demonstrates how sti ing the climate in Washington has become. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York lamented Corker’s resignation, saying that “thoughtfulness and dedication to his job make him a model senator. We all regret him leaving.”
Corker is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was once one of President Trump’s vice presidential contender. The Foreign Relations Committee is a standing committee within the Senate that oversees foreign policy legislation. This legislation includes funding foreign aid, arms sales, training national allies and more. Corker was also the first senator to announce his retirement from the Senate, which comes as a surprise as he had formerly supported Trump and a few of his policies in the presidential race. He communicated his frustration with the Senate gridlock, which he believes is a result of Donald Trump’s inexperienced and childish attitude toward politics. When assessing Trump’s tenure he said, “I’ve seen no evolution in an upward way. As a matter of fact, it seems to me it’s almost devolving.”
Corker had an extremely powerful position in the Senate. His position for reelection was secure. Therefore, his decision to retire forces other Republicans to consider discomforting questions, such as whether or not the Republicans will lose their majority in the Senate and in Congress. Moreover, Corker’s resignation created a wave of uncertainty within the Senate. It raised questions for the Republicans about how many more Republicans are going to resign as a result of the chaos in the White House.
These questions were answered by Senator Jeff Flake’s speech. President Donald Trump attended one of the Tuesday weekly lunches on Capitol Hill, and Senator Flake used this opportunity to deliver a speech directly to the President. Senator Flake said President Trump’s behavior is “dangerous to our democracy” and that “It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”
Senator Flake’s comments reiterate Senator Corker’s frustration, and they have voters questioning whether their representative will resign. The two Senators’ resignations also come after former Presidents George W. Bush, and Barack Obama both subtly criticized President Trump’s behavior and tenure. This reveals that displeasure towards the White House is common among both Republicans and Democrats. President Trump predictably used his Twitter handle to try and recoup his losses, saying that Senator Corker and Senator Flake would not be able to win the 2018 primaries: “The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt and wounded!” His response and behavior towards these two senators further substantiates their actions. If President Trump does not acclimatize to the political expectations of his position, this is only the start of further changes in Washington.