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Gaetz Tried to Rally Republicans to Support War Powers Resolution, Angering Trump

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) attends a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the impeachment Inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 4, 2019. (Saul Loeb/Reuters)

Representative Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.) has angered the Trump administration by pushing fellow Republicans to back a non-binding House resolution aiming to limit the president’s power to make war against Iran, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The Democrat-led resolution passed Thursday in a 224–194 vote along party lines, with three Republicans voting in favor, including Gaetz. The resolution was a response to the U.S. killing on January 2 of senior Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

On the day of the vote, Gaetz’s legislative director Devin Murphy sent an email to House Republicans urging them to vote in favor of the resolution.

“Reclaiming Congressional power is the Constitutional conservative position!” Murphy wrote. “We WILL be voting in favor of H. Con. Res. 83, and hope you will do the same!” Trump vociferously objected to Gaetz’s initiative.

“The Trump administration was disappointed in the congressman’s vote and is hopeful that as the president’s foreign policy continues to unfold, he will reconsider his points of view,” commented White House legislative director Eric Ueland. Another senior White House official told the Post it was “super uncool” and “quite unwise” for Gaetz to buck the president on the issue, and that the administration would not respond to Gaetz’s phone calls, text messages, “smoke signals or his kneelings in the snow.”

Gaetz has generally been one of Trump’s staunchest allies in the House, especially during the impeachment hearings. The Florida representative initially claimed that Trump understood his vote for the war powers resolution.

Other Republicans expressed disapproval of Gaetz’s vote.

“As an FYI, my boss, Ms. Cheney, will be standing with and supporting President Trump and voting against this unconstitutional, partisan resolution,” an aide to Wyoming representative Liz Cheney wrote in response to Gaetz’s push in favor of the resolution.

“To the House Dems and GOPers who voted for this resolution: You have done nothing to legally restrict President Trump’s power as Commander in Chief. Unfortunately however, you have increased the likelihood of conflict,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) wrote on Twitter after the vote on Thursday.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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