With Donald Trump now just three and a half weeks from exiting politics and becoming a defendant and/or inmate for the rest of his life, the Republicans in office really don’t seem to know what to do with themselves. Do they gamble on pandering to Trump’s base? Do they try to get out ahead of Trump’s ugly downfall by attacking him? Do they pretend that Trump never existed?
The reality is that each House Republican will land on a different answer, depending on what their own district looks like, and where they think this is all headed. This will inevitably lead to some of them turning on each other. In fact, with Trump having given up entirely on providing any leadership or guidance, we’re seeing some of this already.
For instance, House Republican Adam Kinzinger, who has long been anti-Trump, tweeted this on Saturday: “All this talk about Jan 6th from Donald Trump and other congressional grifters is simply explained: they will raise money and gain followers by blaming everyone else knowing full well they can’t do anything. It’s sad, and an utter scam.”
This prompted Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was just elected to the Republican House by pushing Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories, to fire back at Kinzinger: “How does it feel to be quote tweeted with resounding approval by Democrats & Progressives while you call yourself ‘Republican’ & say #RestoreOurGOP? 75+ million ‘grifters’ know Donald Trump’s election was stolen.”
So we already have Kinzinger and Greene openly feuding about whether the future of the Republican Party should consist of throwing Trump under the bus, or driving the bus off a cliff. Of course Kinzinger and Greene are at opposite ends of the Republican spectrum when it comes to Trump, so naturally they’re among the first to begin trying to destroy each other.
But once Donald Trump is off the stage in a few weeks, we’ll see a lot more of this ugly infighting within the House Republican caucus. Trump will be too tied up in court to focus on politics at all, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is far too stupid to keep his caucus together once Trump is gone.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report