“The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,” said Sasse. “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.”
Sasse’s, uh, sass provoked the President.
Now, it’s absolutely true that Sasse, who was one of Trump’s most outspoken critics in the early days of his presidency, scaled back his rhetoric until he had secured the GOP nomination in Nebraska’s May primary.
What Sasse is trying to do is carve out a space for a constitutional conservative in the post-Trump GOP. He’s not going to run for president in 2024 as either as a total Trump acolyte or a full-on Trump hater (and I do think he will run). The former lane is going to be VERY crowded and the latter lane probably doesn’t exist in any meaningful way in a Republican primary.
The Point: The fight for what the Republican Party looks like after Trump leaves — whether in January 2021 or January 2025 — will have generational effects on our politics. And it’s already begun in earnest.