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Matt Gaetz's campaign website features press quotes describing the Florida Republican as "Trump's best buddy," "Trump's ultimate defender," and "the Trumpiest congressman in Trump's Washington." Gaetz clearly was not driven by hatred of the president when he voted for last week's House resolution against an unauthorized war with Iran.
Although it may be hard to believe in these hyperpartisan times, Gaetz, a self-described "constitutional conservative," was defending a principle he thinks is more important than loyalty to one man or one party. He was standing up for the legislative branch's long-neglected but crucial role in deciding when the country should go to war.
The nonbinding House resolution, a response to the Trump-ordered drone attack that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani as he was leaving the Baghdad International Airport on January 3, "simply seeks to reclaim some of the Article 1 authority that we've ceded to the Executive over the past 20 years," Gaetz's office explained. "It states that only Congress has the authority to declare war, and that Congress has not authorized military force against Iran."
As Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.), a former Republican who also supported the resolution, pointed out, "Matt Gaetz hasn't changed his position on war powers. He had the same position when President Obama was in office. It's the constitutionally conservative position."
Gaetz's consistency did not win him any points in the White House. A "senior White House official" told The Washington Post the Trump administration would punish Gaetz's "super uncool" position by cutting off all contact with him.
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