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President Trump is facing his first serious pushback from congressional Republicans since taking office as outrage swirls over his immigration executive order.

It isn’t the full-scale retreat Trump endured during several campaign controversies, such as the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape. Most of the criticism from Republicans has been measured, especially compared to the full-throated condemnations from immigrant, human rights and progressive groups who characterize the executive order as a “Muslim ban.”

The most vocal Republican critics have an anti-Trump track record predating this controversy. Liberal outlets have published lists of the high number of GOP lawmakers who haven’t weighed in at all.

But the defections sound a rare discordant note as Republicans celebrate the dawn on their unified control of the federal government for the first time in over a decade, and raise questions about how the party will handle backlash against Trump in the future.

A common refrain was that the “extreme vetting” executive order wasn’t properly vetted itself. “It is clear from the confusion at our airports across the nation that President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted,” wrote Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

“This was an extreme vetting program that wasn’t properly vetted,” concurred Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the “executive order has been poorly implemented, especially with respect to green card holders.”

“The president is right to focus attention on the obvious fact that borders matter,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb, in a statement. “At the same time, while not technically a Muslim ban, this order is too broad.”

“We are uneasy about the potential impact of these measures on our military and our diplomatic personnel abroad, as well as those who put their lives on the line to work with us,” said Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., in a joint statement. “We are both committed to doing what we must to keep America safe. We are equally committed to the defense of religious liberty and our tradition of providing refuge to those fleeing persecution.”

“It’s not lawful to ban immigrants on the basis of nationality,” argued Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., on Twitter. “If the president wants to change immigration law, he must work with Congress.”

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The executive order is restrained compared to Trump’s sweeping comments about Muslim immigration and travel during the campaign. It pertains to just seven of 50 Muslim-majority nations. As a result, many of the Republican reactions are also restrained.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has specifically defended Trump’s order from the charge it is a Muslim ban. But he chastised Trump for floating such a ban while running for president, saying, “This is not conservatism.”

Moderation aside, Trump’s order has drawn the new president into his most direct conflict with other Republicans since becoming president. He responded by dismissing McCain and Graham as “former presidential candidates” who were “sadly weak on immigration.”

That’s not much different than how the Trump administration described an Obama administration holdover at the Justice Department who was refusing to defend the legality of the executive order. In announcing her firing as acting attorney general, the White House said Sally Yates was “weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

Congressional Republicans came around to Trump after his surprise victory, which saw him pierce the Democrats’ blue wall and carry some Rust Belt states the GOP hadn’t won in a presidential election since the 1980s, and largely remain excited about the opportunities control both ends of Pennsylvania provides.

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And they have largely stayed true to Trump. Republican resistance to Trump’s secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson — expected to be led by McCain, Graham and Rubio, all of whom wound up supporting Tillerson — quickly collapsed. Unlike in the campaign, elected Republicans didn’t pile on when the media criticized Trump over inaugural crowd sizes and dubious claims about illegal immigrant voting.

It is possible that this too will pass if the Trump administration reworks the executive order. More GOP lawmakers have defended Trump than attacked him, albeit not always with the same enthusiasm. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was confirmed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

Yet Democratic strategist Bud Jackson warned that Trump’s establishment Republican could prove fragile if the president wasn’t careful. “There is the potential for him to become an island unto himself,” he said.

Despite the large protests at airports and in a number of major cities, it is not even clear Trump has broken decisively with public opinion. A Rasmussen poll found 57 percent support for the basic tenets of the executive order, although that poll was completed just before Trump issued his executive order.

A Quinnipiac poll conducted before the order was issued found that 48 percent supported “suspending immigration from terror prone regions, even if it means turning away refugees” while 42 percent disagreed.

What happens if Trump courts controversy where public is more clearly against him? Many Republicans on Capitol Hill are already worried about his unpredictability. “You never know what’s coming,” said a staffer.

At the very least, there remain disagreements among Republicans about how to handle the immigration issue. Some of this bubbled to the surface during last week’s border wall dust-up, which some observers believed would make Texas Republicans especially uncomfortable.

“I imagine people like Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn would be deeply opposed to jacking up trade tariffs with Mexico,” said Matthew Wilson, associate professor of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“Building a wall is the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border, so as a conservative, I don’t believe it is something that anyone should pay for,” said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas. He added that any tariff “would be devastating to the communities in my district that rely on border trade, harmful to the thousands of U.S. companies that work hand-in-hand with Mexican companies to produce goods and services, and expensive to the millions of middle class families who will feel the pinch as prices go up.”

Hurd represents Texas’ 23rd congressional district, which he notes “has over 800 miles of the border, more than any other member of Congress.”

The question of what to do about immigrants and refugees from some Muslim-majority countries has already been even more explosive — and a reminder the new president can’t always take Republican unity for granted.

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