How Trump Is Driving Democrats and Republicans Together


It’s not just Bob Corker feuding with Trump. His Democratic wingman Ben Cardin says the rest of the Foreign Relations panel is on board to take on the president.

President Trump has notched at least one big foreign policy success: uniting senators of both parties against him on Capitol Hill.

That at least is the argument of Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who is now working in close partnership with the panel’s Republican chairman, Bob Corker, as the retiring Tennessee senator feuds openly with Trump, chides the president’s appointees, and holds hearings to criticize his policies. Call it a rare outpost of bipartisanship in an increasingly polarized moment — or at least an example of a surprising and unintended side effect of Trump’s disruptive approach to the world.

“I believe on foreign policy that there is little difference between the Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Cardin said in an interview for The Global Politico, our weekly podcast on world affairs. He ticked off a list of issues on which he said the committee now agrees across party lines—and over which it appears to be more or less in open conflict with the Trump administration. Among them are imposing mandatory new sanctions on Russia, which ultimately passed the Senate 98-2 over the White House’s objections, keeping the Iran nuclear deal in place and pursuing a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

It’s a striking list. In more than two decades of observing Capitol Hill, I can’t remember a comparable moment when the generally staid Foreign Relations panel has been so assertive toward the president, especially given that Congress and the White House are controlled by the same party. To do so, you’d probably have to reach all the way back to the Vietnam era, and the skeptical hearings about the war held by the late, legendary Chairman William Fulbright.

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