U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Debbie Stabenow speak during a news conference about the Excellence in Mental Health Act, February 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

After standing on principle, GOP senator faces rebuke in his home state


After Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration, granting himself the powers to redirect funds in defiance of Congress’ wishes, Republicans faced a choice: stand up for constitutional principles or side with the White House out of a sense of partisan loyalty. In both the House and Senate, the vast majority of GOP lawmakers prioritized the latter over the former.

But not all of them. In the Senate last week, 12 Republicans broke ranks and voted for a resolution to block the president’s policy. One of them was Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and the only member of the GOP leadership to stand on principle on this vote.

Any chance his local allies would side with Blunt, a giant in Missouri Republican politics? Evidently not. The Kansas City Star reported yesterday that the senator has been disinvited from an upcoming GOP gathering in his home state, in response to last week’s vote.

“I am so disappointed in you now that I can hardly speak,” wrote Wanda Martens, a member of the Christian County Republican Central Committee, in an email to Blunt’s office. “Why could you not support my president in the emergency declaration? President Trump tried every available means to work the Senate to resolve the border issue and build the much needed wall. He is well within his presidential powers to do this.”

Martens serves as the local party committee’s events chair. She told the senator in her email, which was obtained by The Kansas City Star, that she did not want to see him when the local party holds its Lincoln/Trump Day Dinner on April 6 in Ozark, Missouri, one of the most conservative areas in the state.

State and local Republican groups traditionally hold annual Lincoln Day events, but the event in Ozark includes Trump in the name and places a drawing of the president’s face alongside Lincoln’s on the invitation.

It’s that last part that stood out most for me.

Sure, it’s unfortunate to see a Republican senator face this kind of pushback after taking a stand in support of principles his party is supposed to agree with, but since when do Lincoln/Trump Day Dinners exist?

Lincoln Day Dinners have been a standard Republican event for many years. Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinners have become more common of late, after Reagan took on iconic status in GOP politics.

But a Lincoln/Trump Day Dinner is a new one. Should we expect to see a point at which the current Republican president starts to replace the Gipper in the imaginations of GOP activists?