A recent survey by The Hill found that, while most Senate Republicans will attend their party's national convention in Cleveland later this month and witness their party’s de facto standard-bearer, Donald Trump, become the official nominee, a sizable portion plan to say "nah" and skip it. According to The Hill's count, 32 will be in attendance, while 15 presumably replied "Not Interested." Six senators, including Rand Paul, responded that they hadn’t yet made a decision.
Here's a rundown of some of the notables and their will they / won't they status on RNC attendance: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell will be there, while Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Arizona Sen. John McCain will not.
The important part, though, is that The Hill took the time to list the exact responses, when available, for each individual senator. Among those who do plan to be in attendance, it recorded such enthusiastic replies as “At least part of it” (Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner) and “I have second thoughts, but I’ll be there" (Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch). Honorable mentions for those not in attendance include Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (“I’ve got to mow my lawn”) and Montana Sen. Steve Daines (“I’ll have my fly rod in my hand with my wife in Montana”). But the top prize goes to Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, whose spokesman released this gem:
Sen. Sasse will not be attending the convention and will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners.
Because it’s fun, let’s also take a moment to note how nicely Flake and Sasse’s names dovetail with their responses.
Dumpster fire jokes are something of a low-hanging fruit these days, but they’re still pretty delightful when made by an actual politician — particularly a member of the GOP. And while stuff like this is silly and light, it’s also important. As many of the #NeverTrumpers become #EventuallyTrumpers, it’s telling to see who’s still making their opposition known, and how loudly they’re willing to do so, as opposed to staying away with a simple "no comment." About half the senators gave no response at all.
Among those who planned to attend, the only response that could actually be said to contain some enthusiasm came from Cruz, and that’s only because the enthusiasm was directed toward himself: “We’ve got nearly 600 delegates, and I want to go and say thank you for the hard work all of them put in.” In the meantime, let’s hope Sasse enjoys some nice family time.