Mike Pompeo has never had a problem with treason, and he surely couldn’t care less about whether “Dr.” Mehmet Oz is a national security risk. Pompeo is coming out against Oz because he sees that Trump’s influence over GOP voters is fading, and he thinks now is the time to distance himself from Trump in the hope of running for future office.
Even as the media unanimously pretends that JD Vance’s 30% of the Republican vote in Ohio this week is proof that Trump is still controlling everything, people who are actually in politics understand that Trump’s failure to rally Republicans to vote for Vance means his influence has badly faded.
This is the problem when the entire media jumps on the same fictional ratings-driven hot take. Because the media is pretending the Trump-Vance debacle is the opposite of what it obviously was, the media has to pretend to be confused about why Pompeo is now pouncing.
You’re going to hear the media offer up supposedly unanswerable questions along the lines of “Why would Pompeo make his move against Trump now, with Trump just having proven he’s more magically powerful than ever?” The media can’t admit Pompeo is moving against a fading Trump, because its ratings narrative of the week is “Trump now controls all politics and is immortal.”
Of course Pompeo won’t get anywhere in 2024, even with Trump obviously too far gone to be a factor. Pompeo has always been highly unpopular with voters. But he can run in 2024, get 2% of the Republican primary vote, drop out, get a multimillion dollar book deal, and get hired by ABC News to offer lazy but highly paid on-air political commentary once a week.
And Pompeo is clearly betting that by 2024, even Republican primary conversations will frame Trump in the past tense. There’s a good chance Trump will still be alive by then, but not politically.
For the past year, polls have shown that about half of Republican voters want someone other than Trump. Given the massively higher profile that Trump has than any other potential 2024 GOP candidate, those are devastatingly bad numbers for him. His 2024 bid ended on January 6th.
So why is Pompeo making this move now, instead of waiting longer for Trump to pass away or get indicted etc? Probably because he smells blood. Trump’s endorsed candidate for Governor of Georgia, Perdue is 27 points behind the other Republican candidate Kemp.
Not only is Trump struggling to get Republican voters to turn out for his preferred candidates, he’s also endorsing candidates like Perdue who have no chance to begin with, just to try to weaken a Republican like Kemp in the name of personal revenge.
When you’re so far gone that you’re using your endorsements just to try to weaken your party’s eventual nominee in a major race out of pure spite, in a way that likely reduces your party’s odds of winning the general election, you’re close to being finished in that party.
Trump has endorsed Mehmet Oz, who’s a walking talking scandal. If Oz gets the Republican nomination in Pennsylvania, the Democratic candidate will very probably win. There is another Republican candidate in the race, who’s neck and neck with Oz, and would likely have better odds in the general election.
Pompeo probably thinks that if he can kneecap Oz in a way that forces Trump to withdraw the endorsement, or causes Oz to lose the primary in spite of Trump’s endorsement, it’ll turn Pompeo into a power broker within the party. The big donors will owe him one for taking Oz down.
And because Pompeo is going against Trump’s candidate, not against Trump himself, Pompeo is probably hoping that Trump won’t take the gloves off and start attacking Pompeo with whatever dirt he surely has on him.
This is all fairly apparent once you think it through for a minute. But to get there, you have to first acknowledge that Vance’s primary numbers mean Trump’s influence on Republican voters has obviously faded – even as the media chases ratings by telling you the precise opposite.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report