No you don’t, Mitch. For cripes sake. Responsibility for foreign affairs is no longer in Congress’s job description and that’s just the way Congress likes it.
“There is widespread interest in Congress in having some involvement in this,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “I hope it takes the form of a treaty.”…
McConnell said Trump can decide whether an agreement should be cleared by Congress in the form of a treaty, which requires two-thirds support of the Senate…
“Which route the administration takes is up to them, but I do believe they’ll need to come to Congress in some form,” McConnell said. “We’ll wait and see what form that is.”
I can’t help but notice that all of this is being framed in terms of things he hopes Trump does, right down to whether it’s submitted as a treaty (which would require two-thirds of the chamber for ratification) or as something else. If McConnell cared about this, it wouldn’t be phrased as a “hope.” It would be phrased as a demand.
As I say, Congress wants nothing to do with foreign affairs anymore. They get nothing out of it politically. Better to lie low when the president wants to do something abroad, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst. That applies first and foremost to authorizing military adventures: Why would you want your fingerprints on a new bombing campaign when there’s no telling how badly things might go? Especially if you’re a Democrat: Republicans are on the hook for whatever Trump does whether they formally support his policies or not but Democrats aren’t. Why gamble by voting yes on a military excursion that might go sideways and piss off your base or by voting no on one that might turn out well and be popular? Same with the North Korea deal. If Trump strikes a bargain with Kim, Republicans will sink or swim to some extent according to how the deal turns out regardless of whether they ratify it. Why should they take the risk of formally taking a position on it when they don’t need to? And why would Democrats want the dilemma or whether to block it or not knowing that it may be the last hope for peace?
Let’s be real. Trump’s agreement with Kim could consist in its entirety of the words “FART NOISE” and the GOP would have to vote for it. Trump is expecting this to be his crowning achievement, an example of him cutting a foreign-policy Gordian knot that mere mortals like Obama couldn’t begin to untie. MAGA Nation is already foursquare behind him. The Senate GOP torpedoing his deal would be an unthinkable affront to the base, even worse than supporting the bill Bob Corker’s been pushing to reclaim Trump’s power over tariffs. You cross a cult of personality on which you depend for your own reelection at your peril. Senate Republicans will all vote for it, very reluctantly, if they’re forced and McConnell knows it. So why would he invite it?
One of two reasons, I think. Either he believes there’s zero chance of Trump actually striking a deal with Kim, in which case he’s making a promise here that he’ll never be asked to keep, or he figures there’ll be some procedural chicanery involved eventually to bail out the majority from a tough vote a la Corker’s Iran-deal bill that allowed that agreement to take effect so long as a resolution of *disapproval* (which could be easily filibustered) didn’t pass the Senate. It’s unthinkable that Trump would submit his North Korea deal as a treaty knowing Democrats would likely block it and it’s almost as unthinkable that he’d submit it as simple legislation to both houses knowing how reluctant GOPers will be to gamble on it. (Needless to say, if Democrats take back one or more houses of Congress this fall, the new majority could block it as well.) There’s really no congressional option here that works for the White House *and* the GOP unless Trump makes a deal so good that there’s no downside in supporting it. Which, c’mon.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s the film that Trump screened for Kim yesterday, which makes me feel slightly high after watching it. As a million people have noted, it looks like some sort of Scientology indoctrination video. Presumably that’s because whoever created it concluded that that’s the cinematic language Kim himself speaks: Since he’s used to “conversing” on politics with his own citizenry through the most heavy-handed propaganda, heavy-handed propaganda is the way America will try to converse with him. Good luck!