Trump lashes out at Republican who called his executive orders 'unconstitutional slop'

'President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,' Ben Sasse says

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Monday 10 August 2020 16:51 BST
Trump is unfit to lead a divided America, says Republican senator Ben Sasse

Donald Trump lashed out on Monday at a Republican senator who is criticising recent executive orders the president says would provide relief to those out of work due to the coronavirus and protect some from being evicted.

Mr Trump used a Monday morning tweet to call Nebraska GOP Senator Ben Sasse a "RINO," short for "Republican in name only," and mocked him over his last Senate campaign.

"RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he's got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again," the president tweeted. "This foolishness plays right into the hands of the Radical Left Dems!"

Mr Sasse, in a weekend statement, called Mr Trump's coronavirus relief-themed orders "unconstitutional slop." He and other GOP lawmakers, like Mr Trump, were sharply critical of former President Barack Obama's second-term use of executive orders.

"The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop," Mr Sasse said in a statement. "President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law."

Mr Sasse has been among a handful of GOP senators who have felt comfortable speaking out about some of Mr Trump's most controversial statements and actions.

The Nebraska Republican spoke out after Mr Trump signed orders on emergency unemployment benefits, a suspension of the payroll tax and eviction protections when talks with House and Senate Democrats stalled late last week.

Mr Sasse found himself in agreement with, of all people, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"I associate myself – remarks with Senator Sasse, who says, they're 'unconstitutional slop.' I think that's right," she told CNN on Sunday.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said he would prefer the White House and Congress pass legislation to help those hurt by the pandemic.

Tax and spending matters are legally required to be written by Congress, originating in the House. Presidents, however, do have authorities to interpret how tax and spending laws are implemented, which is where legal fights over the orders likely would be fought.

Some GOP lawmakers had warned Mr Trump weeks ago to avoid action on a payroll tax cut or suspension, saying those monies help fund programmes like Social Security and Medicare – popular among senior voters who have been fleeing the 2016 Trump coalition in big numbers.

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