White House Official Calls Matt Gaetz’s Efforts to Limit War Powers “Super Uncool”

Chillax, bro.

Matt Gaetz

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)Tom Williams/Congressional Quarterly/ZUMA

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A few days ago, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) broke with most members of his party to support a House resolution that seeks to restrict Donald Trump’s use of military force against Iran unless the president obtains congressional approval. Gaetz’s support was noteworthy, because he has (proudly) built a reputation as Trump’s most eager defender in Washington, and because Trump himself called the bill a “Democratic fraud.”

Gaetz’s support for the resolution did not go over well with his fellow Republicans. But you can’t appreciate just how poorly it went over until you read this Washington Post story about the behind-the-scenes opposition. In response to a letter asking his colleagues to sign on to the measure, a succession of GOP staffers took turns trashing it in the kind of language one might expect to hear on Fox News, and a White House staffer told the paper that Gaetz’s support for it had left him in the dog house:

An aide to Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) simply sent all Republican offices Trump’s tweet urging Republicans to vote against the resolution.

A senior White House official said it was “super uncool” and “quite unwise” for Gaetz to push for limits on the president’s authority. This person added that White House officials would not be returning Gaetz’s phone calls, text messages, “smoke signals or his kneelings in the snow.”

“Super uncool.” My God. Is this is a debate about constitutional powers or an episode of “The Californians“?

There’s an old Norse adage: “Write every email as if it will someday be read back to you in a deposition.” These Republican staffers all seem to be abiding by its Trumpian corollary—write every email with the expectation that the president might see it on TV.

But Gaetz can take some comfort knowing that he won’t be the only Republican getting ghosted by the president. On Saturday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee confirmed that he was signing onto Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “No War Against Iran Act,” which would cut off funding for military operations unless Trump obtains congressional authorization.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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