Enduring Republican support for former President Donald Trump, even after the Capitol uprising and his second impeachment trial, has left some conservatives wondering if the party still has a place for them.
The GOP [Republican Party] is in a really dark place right now, said Olivia Troye, a former assistant to then Vice President Mike Pence, who added that she and others like her now feel politically homeless.
Troye, who resigned in protest at the Trump administrations’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic, is now director of the newly created Republican Accountability Project, a political action committee that works to topple Trump’s allies and elect conservatives from principle.
I’m not saying we’re going to rehabilitate the Republican Party overnight; we are far from it, she said. We are looking for several years to see in which direction the party wants to go.
The party is experiencing a major split, with Trump criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just days after the main Republican voted to acquit him.
FILE – In this still from the video, Kentucky Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks after the Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on February 13, 2021 .
Trump on Tuesday called McConnell an austere, brooding, and smileless political hack, urging Senate Republicans to find a new leader and threatening to back the challengers against incumbent Republicans in the next election.
Although McConnell voted not guilty in the Trump impeachment trial last week, he later excoriated the former president in the Senate, saying there was no doubt that Trump was practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of January 6, when a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers certified Democrat Joe Bidens’ election victory.
Meanwhile, the seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump for inciting insurgency are now facing severe criticism from the party. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana were censored by Republican Party machines in their states. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Susan Collins of Maine are also threatened with censorship.
The infighting comes as polls show Trump remains a force among Republicans. A Quinnipiac poll released on Monday showed 75 percent of Republicans said they would like to see the former president take a prominent role in the party.
Republican Party Rift
On Sunday, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, a conservative outlet owned by Trump ally Rupert Murdoch, warned that Trump would split the party.
“The country is overtaking the Trump presidency, and the GOP will remain in the wilderness until it does too,” the council wrote.
FILE – Jason Miller, senior adviser to then-President-elect Donald Trump, speaks to reporters at Trump Tower on November 16, 2016, in New York City.
Former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller has dismissed signs of an intraparty breakup. I see there is a divide between where the grassroots militants are in the country and many leaders in Washington, he said.
For those who think Trumpism is too entrenched, there is discussion of a third party. Evan McMullin, a Republican who ran as an independent presidential candidate in 2016, led the talks with former lawmakers and party officials.
A new party created by anti-Trump Republicans could be a game-changer, said David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at the American University.
He could start getting 15-20% of the overall vote in some places, Barker said, and the rest of the Trump Republican Party will start to be completely crushed.
Capitol Riot Commission
Despite Trumps’ acquittal, his guilt will likely remain the focus of concern as the House of Representatives sets out to create an independent commission to investigate the Capitol siege, similar to the commission that studied the 9/11 attacks for 15 years. months and published a comprehensive report that led to changes in national laws and the operational framework to deal with terrorism.
Some Republican lawmakers have shown their support. For Democrats, the commission can help hold Trump to account and reveal information that could reduce his political influence as the country heads towards the 2022 midterm elections.
FILE – Thomas Kean, left, and Lee Hamilton, former co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, testify before a U.S. Senate committee on the report on the circumstances surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Thomas Kean, a Republican and former chairman of the 9/11 commission who made a bipartisan appeal to establish the commission of inquiry into the Capitol seat, said the goal should not be to hold down the former president responsible.
It’s not a commission to get President Trump, Kean said. It is a commission of investigators to prevent the event from happening again. If Congress drafts the resolution in a bipartisan fashion and appoints men and women of integrity who would put the country first, Kean said, then no one can argue that this is a vendetta against Trump.
The media attention drawn to multiple criminal investigations, civil investigations and libel lawsuits against two women who accused him of sexual assault may also determine how much Trump will continue to influence Republican Party policy.
Currently, Trump remains popular within his party. According to a Morning Consult / Politico poll released Tuesday, more than half of Republicans would back Trump in a Republican primary if he ran for president again.
Trump is the present and the future of the Republican Party, said Miller, Trump’s former adviser. It doesn’t matter whether establishment politicians pursue him, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats. The president will not back down.
On Tuesday, U.S. Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson and the NAACP civil rights organization sued Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for their role in the Jan.6 attack. .
Trump is also handling two new investigations in Georgia into appeals he made to officials in which he appeared to be pressuring them to overturn the state’s election results. He faces a criminal investigation in New York City into possible tax and insurance fraud.
It’s hard to say if any of this will have an impact on Trump’s political future, American University’s Barker said, noting that Republicans have stuck with Trump despite multiple inquiries and election losses.
I’m going to go ahead and say he’ll likely survive and have influence, unless criminal investigations catch him and he goes to jail, Barker said. It will be difficult to have a lot of influence behind bars.
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