Views from Kansas: Moran defends Constitution

Editor’s Note: Views from Kansas is a regular feature that highlights editorials and other viewpoints from across the state.

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran did the right thing again. He’s flying solo in that regard, as fellow Senate Republicans from Kansas and Missouri refuse to respond to Saudi Arabia’s role in the bombing of Yemeni civilians and in the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi with anything but faux frowns and real arms contracts.

Unlike Missouri Sens. Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt and Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, Moran voted last Thursday to block President Donald Trump from using emergency authority to sell arms to the Saudis.

Sure, these resolutions will be vetoed by the president, who as we careen toward war continues to take his cues on Iran in part from his son-in-law’s buddy, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Yes, even though a U.N. report documents “credible evidence” that it was the crown prince, as the CIA has said “with high confidence,” who ordered Khashoggi hacked to death for criticizing him in print. What’s the buzz of a bone-saw between friends?

Trump is also taking cues on Iran from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a hawkish Kansan who in a time-honored pre-war move is trying to tie Iran to al-Qaida. One recurring refrain in Trump’s 2016 campaign speeches that made sense was his argument against waging “endless wars” we didn’t need to be in. Now, though, his advisers seem to have talked him out onto a ledge and left him there, woozy and babbling about being “cocked and loaded.”

All of this only makes Moran’s willingness to stand up for the separation of powers and for democratic values more commendable — and the calculus of his colleagues more chicken-hearted.

“Congress has an important role in the oversight and approval of arms sales to foreign countries,” Moran said in a statement. “Today’s vote was to retain that power by preventing the bypassing of Congress, and ensure that partners who receive American weapons will respect American interests.”

He’s been consistent, also opposing arms sales to Bahrain and voting for a resolution against Trump’s plan to use emergency powers to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

“I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution,” Moran said at the time.

Some people only talk about the Constitution, while others vote to defend it.

— Originally published in The Kansas City Star


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