Why not side with Donald Trump and ban all Muslim immigration? That was the collective question posed by Democrats to their Republican colleagues in the Senate on Wednesday. The legislative lashes transpired Wednesday as Senate Republicans sought to push through a bipartisan veto-proof bill from the House that would further increase scrutiny of refugees, hobbling the Obama administration’s efforts to increase the number of asylum seekers that it accepts from Syria. How on earth did Democrats end up proposing the “Trump Amendment?”

"When we offer them a chance to vote on another statement by Republican presidential nominee Mr. Trump ... they run like scalded cats," Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, according to The Hill.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) denounced the move, saying Democrats were "bringing the circus to town." 

Democrats hoped to force Republicans to go on the record for or against Trump’s Muslim immigration. Vote for it, and they’d risk the slings and arrows that have already been launched at Trump’s idea, which has been called unconstitutional, “fascist” and even “ worse than Voldemort.”

Trump is leading in the polls among Republican primary voters, but he’s the least liked candidate in the entire election. Are Democrats are looking to have him stain the GOP brand as much as possible while he’s in the race? That seemed to be the tenor of Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday.

"This bill is just another step in the absolute wrong direction, the direction of Donald Trump," he told the AP. "The Democrats are committed to opposing the hateful views of Trump and his Republican enablers."

Reid, formerly the majority leader, also teased McConnell over resisting the open amendment effort. He proposed a handful of amendments, including  from restricting weapons purchases by people on the no-fly list. Republicans rejected the proposal to advance the bill with the Trump amendment, and Democrats used their votes to prevent the bill from coming to floor “clean,” which requires two-thirds of the 98 chamber vote (two Senators were absent).

"[The Senate Democrat] vote is irresponsible,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement adding that “Even the administration's top law enforcement officials say there are gaps in our refugee program that terrorists can exploit."

The final vote to advance the bill fell short 55-43, largely along party lines.