Blunt disinvited to GOP event in backlash over vote to block Trump’s emergency powers

As reported by KansasCityStar

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has been disinvited from a local GOP gathering in Christian County, Missouri, next month amid a backlash over his vote to block President Donald Trump’s use of emergency powers to build a border wall.

The senior GOP senator from Missouri was one of 12 Republicans who joined Democrats in voting against Trump’s national emergency declaration, a move that has sparked anger within the president’s base. As a Republican sharing the ballot with Trump in 2016, Blunt squeaked out a narrow 3-point win on Trump’s coattails.

His vote on Thursday angered ardent Trump supporters across Missouri, who saw it as a betrayal.

“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.

You Might Like

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.

“Please don’t try to tell me that I don’t understand. I understand completely,” Martens wrote. “I hate it when someone calls you the establishment and that you are part of the swamp, but maybe they were right.”

Martens wrote that she didn’t even call Blunt asking him to support Trump because she was sure he would. She declined to comment on Monday.

Chuck Branch, another member of the central committee, said he was frustrated by Martens’ decision to revoke Blunt’s invitation. Branch, the retired general manager of Christian County Headliner News, originally had been the one to ask Blunt to attend the dinner.

“I think that we absolutely need to stand by the people who we send to Washington. We don’t have to agree on policy,” Branch said. “Taking it to a personal level of not inviting him to a Republican event seems to be crossing a line in my view.”

Blunt, the only member of Senate Republican leadership to support the resolution, pointed to his opposition to executive overreach during the Obama administration. He also warned that the precedent would enable a future president to use the National Emergencies Act to enact gun control or strict environmental regulations opposed by Republicans.

“The same principle should apply regardless of which party occupies the White House,” Blunt wrote.

Blunt is on a congressional delegation trip and could not be reached for comment Monday. He is the fourth-ranking Republican in the Senate and is a senior member of the appropriations committee, which doles out federal funds.

In an interview on KCMO’s Pete Mundo Morning Show on Friday, Blunt said he had tried working with the White House to help Trump find the money for his promised border wall without declaring an emergency.

“There is an emergency declaration available. Presidents have used it about 58 times since 1976 when it was put into effect,” Blunt said. “But no president has ever used it this way, where (you) ask the Congress to do something, go through that whole constitutional process and then when you don’t get what you ask for that way, just decide, ‘Well, it’s an emergency.’”

He added, “The last power really left to Congress is the power to control appropriations, the power of the purse, which anybody’s ever looked at the constitution has heard that phrase over and over again. And I think it’s an important phrase.”