Donald Trump failed miserably on health care and now he has to show where his loyalties lie after Congress overwhelmingly passed sanctions on Russia.
Donald Trump, still smarting from the collapse of the Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare, will have to contend with sanctions on Russia that force him to go on record and show America who he stands with.
Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill imposing sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its election interference on Trump’s behalf, both the House (419-3) and Senate (98-2). This was in spite of lobbying efforts by the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to soften them and to allow Trump to do so without congressional oversight.
The legislation arrives on Trump’s desk at the same time that the Obamacare repeal died in the Senate, sending what was supposed to be his key legislative accomplishment to a political grave, though it is always possible Republicans could try to resurrect it in the future. Trump has had no major legislative accomplishments in his first six months on the job.
Trump now has to either sign the sanctions bill and make it law, showing that he intends to reflect the will of Congress and the electorate instead of Russia, who has blasted the bill. Or he can veto it, as his foul-mouthed communications director Anthony Scaramucci has indicated he might.
The obstacle for Trump is that the legislation was so well supported across party lines that it passed with a veto-proof majority. It does not need his signature to become law, so the policy will be implemented regardless of what he decides.
The bill is a simple referendum on his loyalty: to his political benefactors in Russia, or to the legislation passed with unusual bipartisan credentials in the American congress.
That this is even a question in the first place is a testament to how far away from normalcy Donald Trump has taken the American presidency.