GOP leaders condemned him for helping instigate the riots that threatened their lives and put an end to five more. Kevin McCarthy, chairman of the minority House of Representatives, said Trump had “responsibility” and urged him to assume the blame for the January 6 attacks. Senate minority chairman Mitch McConnell, who has not spoken to Trump since Dec. 15, made no secret of his disgust at the former president’s role in the chaos that erupted at the Capitol. Ten Republican MPs voted for Trump’s impeachment.
But that was it then. Now the GOP is embroiled in a delicate dance to keep Trump and his electoral base in the group without being overly indebted to him. Without Trump’s cooperation, the party fears losing a fundraising giant as it turns to a medium-term cycle in which it hopes to regain majorities in every congressional chamber.
“What you see is not a particularly shocking move on the path of least resistance,” said one GOP strategist. “There’s no real advantage in waging this war if you want a future in politics.”
In the weeks since the Capitol rampage, top Republicans have tried to get used to Trump again while maintaining some semblance of distance – a line that has a mix of submissiveness and detachment as they go to opposite wings of the Party tend.
Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel tried her hand at the balancing act on Wednesday. In an interview with the Associated Press earlier that morning, she confirmed that the GOP would refuse to put its thumb on the scale for a candidate in the party’s next presidential primary – a statement of neutrality that raises immediate questions about how or if the party will plans to use Trump in the Republican interim campaign to win back the House and Senate.
“The plans are still being discussed and we are working with members on different options for the future, ”said Michele Fiore, GOP committee woman in Nevada.
McDaniel later clarified in Fox News that the RNC has statutes preventing him from sponsoring candidates for GOP primaries. Her comments were in contrast to 2020, however, when Trump relied heavily on GOP officials to prevent a trio of challengers from ever winning steam in the Republican primary and would likely demand their loyalty if he came up with another bid in 2024 of the White House would proceed.
However, shortly after her interview was published, the RNC chairman stepped up to Trump’s side and released a statement sharply condemning Trump’s impeachment trial.
“Make no mistake: Democratic leaders’ revenge against President Trump has always included impeachment, and many committed to it before he took office,” she said, adding that the post-president impeachment process is both “unconstitutional” and ” distracting “is from the important issues Americans want to focus on. ”
As another sign that the party sees Trump as an instrument of survival, McCarthy made a bold face on Thursday for a lunchtime meeting with the ex-president, just weeks after it was reported that the former president called the House Republican “pussy In the gilded lobby of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the two men posed for a photo and publicly pledged to work together to bring the GOP back under control of the house in 2022.
“A united conservative movement will strengthen the bonds of our citizens and uphold the freedoms on which our country was founded,” McCarthy said in a statement following the meeting.
The meeting on Trump’s lawn and the subsequent grinning photo marked a dramatic turnaround for McCarthy, who asked colleagues whether he should ask the former president to resign two weeks ago.
But even when McCarthy pondered whether to create some distance, his political team still took advantage a fundraising website for next year’s midterm elections under the domain name “Trump’s majority”.
Trump’s stranglehold on the GOP stems from a variety of factors. The most important of them is what happened to the party when he is not fully involved. The day before the Capitol Riots, Republicans lost two critical seats in the Senate in Georgia. And in retrospect, the party members almost all accuse Trump of putting much more energy into questioning his own election results in the state than in upgrading the two election candidates.
“In Georgia there is no question – and no one should say otherwise – he’s the reason we lost,” said a GOP official. “I’ve never been so confident in a post-election analysis.”
Trump’s advisors say the former president will be active in the upcoming intermediate races. Because of this, some Republicans praised the efforts made to give him a voice and to make sure his supporters still feel at home in the GOP.
“We have to be neutral and we have rules about how to be neutral. By the same token, we wouldn’t be smart if we discounted those 74 million votes,” Barnett said, referring to the number of votes that came in November for Trump.
“We definitely have to find a way to integrate these people and these voters because we cannot win without them,” he added.
Another explanation for Trump’s stranglehold on the party is the vengeance he often seeks. Even if he’s decamped in Palm Beach without his Twitter account, he’s made it clear that he wants to use his power against any Republican who crosses it.
After the impeachment vote, Trump was briefed by aides about each of the 10 Republicans calling for his overthrow. And since then, he and his allies have turned their anger on one Republican in particular – the third-tier GOP member in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Trump’s friend and ally Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Flew north to Cheyenne, Wyo., Thursday to rally against his colleague, and Trump’s team commissioned a poll that painted a bleak picture of Cheney’s re-election prospects , and was then immediately blown up to report the results to the press.
“Liz Cheney’s decision to indict President Trump makes her extremely vulnerable,” said a memo from Trump pollster John McLaughlin. “The strong sentiment in this poll suggests that there may be similar results for other Republicans who voted for impeachment.”