It's suddenly occurring to vulnerable Senate Republicans that they're pretty much screwed after giving Donald Trump their seal of approval with an impeachment acquittal, and then watching him consign Americans to death and economic doom.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who some consider the walking dead at this point electorally, made a big, headline-grabbing show of urgency earlier this week to light a fire under the butts of his colleagues.
"It’s unfathomable that the Senate is set to go on recess without considering any additional #COVID19 assistance for the American people," Gardner wrote, keenly aware that House Democrats had already passed a giant relief bill. "Anyone who thinks now is the time to go on recess hasn’t been listening," he added, noting that Coloradans and Americans alike "are hurting."
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, also facing a tough reelection, joined Gardner in expressing her, shall we say, concern. "The fallout from the coronavirus is unprecedented," she tweeted, saying Congress had a "tremendous responsibility" to help mitigate the crisis. "We must not wait," she urged.
It was a notable break from the GOP caucus given that Trump had visited Capitol Hill just a day earlier to counsel unity among Senate Republicans and tell them to hang tough. So much for that—some of them are starting to sort of/kind of act like they want to save their own behinds. Good luck with that after every single one of them cast votes to saddle America with the leadership of Donald Trump.
But Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell couldn't be moved. McConnell has repeatedly signified zero sense of urgency on bringing any more relief to struggling Americans. And Trump's right there with him. Whatever supposed unity Trump went to the Hill to pitch was really just his way of saying, Do what I need you to do—or else.
That's why Gardner folded like a house of cards on his empty threat to block the Senate from recessing before they took meaningful action on helping the nearly 40 million Americans who have now filed for unemployment in the past couple of months.
Gardner told CNN's Manu Raju they were "close" on "PPP and some other things that will help Colorado," adding the he felt "good" about what they might be able to accomplish. Wow, was that ever an inspiring stand for the people.
Anyway, vulnerable Senate Republicans are clearly on their own, but it's also clearly not important enough for any of them to grow a spine—just like when they cast their acquittal votes.