"They know it's their party": despite tensions with Trump, Republican legislators roar with the approval of their president

Robert Costa

National political reporter covering the White House, Congress and campaigns.

First came the Senate reprimand for President Trump's plan to get American troops out of Syria and Afghanistan. Then came warnings from key senators of the Republican Party that they could vote to prevent the president from using an emergency order to divert federal funds to a border wall.

But the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, with thunderous applause and praise from Republicans, offered a reminder that, despite all its political differences and frustrations, the Republican Party remains largely the party of Trump.

Republicans erupted in "USA! USA!" Chants! "There was abundant cheers when Trump boasted that he had overturned much of President Barack Obama's medical care law and spoke grimly of" mbadive and illegal immigration "and "Our very dangerous southern border." The same for his rejection of socialism.

It was typical of how Republicans have responded to Trump during his presidency: with reverence and roars despite the excess of controversies, scandals and fury.

"Where I have differences with him, I tend to talk about them in private," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex), who will be re-elected next year. "There are clearly some differences of opinion between him and some of my colleagues. But it's not a crack because we're all in the same boat. "

Cornyn added that he and others who complained about aspects of Trump's agenda once said that Trump's call for a mbadive wall "makes no sense" and instead defended the reinforcement of fences in key locations, they are interested In which the president joins them in the campaign trail, a testimony of the president's dominance with the voters whom Cornyn and others count as their base.

Tensions could rise in the coming days as Republicans rush to avoid another politically wounded government shutdown and urge Trump to resist using his emergency powers to bypbad Congress and begin to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and in the dangerous coming year. There is no way to know how Republicans will react when special lawyer Robert S. Mueller III presents a report on his investigation into the alleged coordination between the Trump campaign in 2016 and Russia.

And even on Tuesday night, there was moderate applause from Republican Party lawmakers when the president spoke about the end of "endless wars" in the Middle East.

However, the camera scene in the House of Representatives showed that the appetite for a dramatic break with Trump over his conduct and policies remains limited for now, with most Republican lawmakers more inclined to push the militant president than to confront him, knowing that he retains a deep well of support among the faithful voters and primary activists of the party.

Looking at the Republicans, Trump badured them that "in the United States an economic miracle is taking place, and that the only thing that can stop it is stupid wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations", a reference to Mueller's research and the Congressional investigations that are being conducted. by the new Democrats of the House of Representatives.

Many Republicans stood up and applauded Trump for that to one side, as if they were baduring him that they, too, would be by his side whatever came.

Standing before Vice President Pence, who is close to the conservative religious community, Trump asked Congress to pbad a law to stop abortions in the third quarter.

To the extent that Republicans have broken with Trump in recent weeks, many Republican Party lawmakers described this as a trial period on Tuesday, seeing how far they could get politically at this time.

"You have everyone thinking how much elbow space they have," said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele. "The 35-day closure caused it. That said, they know it's their party and they probably will not go too far. "

Trump continues to gain strong approval from his own party, with 87 percent of Republicans approving his performance in a CNN poll released on Monday, although polls show he remains very unpopular among the general electorate.

Some of the main potential aspirants of 2020 are looking at the offers and perceiving the vulnerability while Trump struggles within the confines of the new confines of the divided Washington.

Former Mbadachusetts Gov. William Weld recently changed his party's record from Libertarian to Republican, as he considers a possible career in 2020 against Trump, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) said he is "listening "calls to jump on the white track. House race

"The applause and the big smiles on the Republican Party side are a reminder that the cheers and the big smiles of politicians should not be taken seriously," wrote conservative commentator William Kristol, a critic of Trump. "Most Republican members of Congress would be delighted if Trump left, but for now they are too shy to do anything about it."

Senator John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, called his colleagues "entrepreneurs" these days.

"The president has different points of view and shakes things up a bit, and, obviously, we all have to adapt to that," Thune said.

Representative Mark Meadows (RN.C.), one of Trump's main supporters who regularly speaks to him about the dynamics that drive the party in Congress, dismissed the latest examples of GOP fissures with the president as "senators trying to flex their muscles and show that they have an independent mentality "and a natural reaction from party hawks that have long supported foreign intervention.

"These senators want to talk about foreign policy when they are in DC, but they know that when they return home, most of their voters agree with the president that it is time to get out of these endless wars," Meadows said. "The president knows it too."

Meadows added: "Are there people who complain? Of course, but they ask me five times a day if I can help many of these people get a presidential visit or support."

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

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