House GOP prays Trump can give up his 2020 grievance habit
The spectacle sparked by Trump’s resumption of unsubstantiated electoral fraud allegations offers a first glimpse of the kind of headaches Republicans face who want to put him at the center of their quest to win back their majorities in Congress, especially the GOP. from the room. Still, some members fear Trump’s election grievances could create a litmus test that cannot be avoided in 2022.
GOP candidates are required to answer questions as to whether they agree Trump was cheated in the election – an uncomfortable position for some lawmakers who don’t want to cross paths with a former president who still maintains an iron grip on the government. left. Minority parliamentary leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Insisted last month that “no one is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” but the more he aligns himself with Trump who doubts the presidential election. legitimacy, the more those words are likely to come back to bite him.
“If Trump focused on the political failures of Pelosi and Biden, he would help us. If it is voter fraud and sour grapes from 2020, it will hurt us, ”said a GOP lawmaker who represents a purple district. “We might still be able to win the majority, but I think that makes the hill harder to climb. “
“Obviously, the base likes it, but the base does not win the majority in the House,” added the lawmaker.
Banks, for his part, said Trump focused at their meeting last week on how he could “get around the country for candidates to help us reclaim the House.” The ex-president gave no signal about his intention to run for re-election in 2024, Banks said, nor did he spend much time discussing the 2020 election or hinting at election audits. ‘State such as Arizona.
“It was all about the future,” Banks said. “It was not focused on the past.”
He’s the kind of Trump Republicans would much prefer to see this cycle. Retired Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) Used a recent appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to urge Trump to step away from baseless election grievances: “He could be incredibly useful in 2022 if he focuses on 2022 and the differences in the two political parties, ”said Blunt.
But it’s not clear whether the former freewheeling president can stay focused on 2022 as he takes the trail of the Republican candidates, and that uncertainty is more than just a potential political issue for the GOP. Some Republicans fear that Trump’s 2020 election rhetoric, which prompted a murderous mob to attack Capitol Hill and ultimately led to his second impeachment, threatens to undermine democracy and may inspire more violence.
“The persistent false allegations of stolen elections have led to threats of violence / death, intimidation and allegations of prison terms for election officials. They keep coming, ”said Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused to overturn his state’s election results, tweeted friday. “Real leaders must take action to stop it. So far, they haven’t.
Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Who was stripped of her leadership last month for her repeated criticism of Trump, has continued to issue similar dire warnings.
“The problem we have now is that he kept saying the same things. He continued to use the same language that sparked this violence on January 6, ”she said in a recent Wyoming radio interview. “When you look at what is needed for us as a country, when you look at what is needed to support our republic and our democratic process, the things he says are very toxic and dangerous, and as Republicans we must stand up to these lies.
McCarthy, who initially condemned Trump’s role in the Capitol Riots but has since hugged the ex-president, feels confident that he will win back the House majority. And he sees the former president as crucial to the GOP’s involvement and fundraising, going to Trump’s Florida resort to stay in his good graces. Posing for a Photo with Trump while showing a thumbs up in one of his properties has almost become a rite of passage among the most senior Republicans.
But even McCarthy seems eager to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. The GOP leader argued last month that it was necessary to kick Cheney out of the leadership team so House Republicans could begin healing from their January 6-related injuries and finally focus on the Biden agenda, which the GOP sees as a winning message halfway through.
Republicans are also keen to exploit tensions across the aisle as the House returns to Washington this week. In a conference call Friday, House Republicans reveled in growing Democratic divisions over everything from infrastructure to Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn’s) latest remarks on foreign policy, according to a source during the call.
Still, McCarthy and the GOP may find it difficult to avoid pleading for Trump’s electoral defeat if the former president does so himself while defending their candidates.
McCarthy “was the one who said Trump was the leader of our party,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), One of Trump’s most vocal critics in the GOP. “He handed his leadership card to the president. So if the former president looks back, you have no choice.
In contrast, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) And Senate Republicans have shown greater independence from Trump. But McConnell, despite setting Trump on fire for inciting the insurgency, has since been careful not to poke Trump in the eye and assiduously avoids questions about the ex-president.
Republicans on both sides of Capitol Hill would like Trump to adopt a forward-looking tone more often in public places. Some of them warn of a repeat of Georgia, when Democratic candidates won two seats in the Senate – and with it, control of the upper house – after Trump has repeatedly claimed that the electoral system of the state was rigged instead of trying to drive more GOP voters into the polls.
“He should have learned from what happened in Georgia,” the Republican Purple District lawmaker said. “It cost us Georgia by focusing on the elections.”