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Border

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch.

Last month, Donald Trump retweeted a doctored photo of himself playing the fiddle that was labeled "My next piece is called: nothing can stop what's coming." It was clearly an homage to the Emperor Nero who so infamously made music while Rome burned. To it, the president added this comment: "Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!"

Whether Trump is fiddling these days or not, one thing is certain: in a Nero-like fashion, he continues to be irresponsibly unresponsive to the crisis caused by Covid-19. One reason may be that, however inadvertently, the arrival of the pandemic has helped green-light plans and projects he's held dear to his heart and that had, before the crisis, repeatedly encountered opposition.

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Eight Republican senators voted against a bipartisan emergency coronavirus appropriations bill on Wednesday. But six of those same senators had previously voted for Donald Trump’s border emergency declaration.

The 90-to-8 vote sent the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to Donald Trump. The bill will provide temporary paid sick leave for some workers, free coronavirus testing, and expanded Medicaid, food assistance and unemployment. Trump signed it Wednesday night.

Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, James Inhofe and James Lankford of Oklahoma, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Tim Scott of South Carolina each voted no.

But last March and September, all six voted to support Trump’s declaration of a “border emergency.”

“The current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency,” Trump declared last February. To address this, he announced he would siphon billions of dollars appropriated for defense to pay for a wall along the southern border.

Majorities in the House and Senate voted to reject this declaration, but all six voted to preserve it, effectively endorsing his move.

The senators did not immediately respond to inquiries about their votes.

Last week, Trump finally issued an emergency declaration over the coronavirus pandemic.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.