- The moment everyone saw coming is here: President Donald Trump is turning on the Republican Party.
- He’d already lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for acknowledging that Joe Biden won the election.
- Now he’s setting up an opportunity to further suss out who in the GOP is unwilling to entertain his delusions with the electoral-vote count in Congress.
- That challenge will fail. When it does, Trump will be angriest at the Republicans who he feels betrayed him. He will blame them for losing the White House.
- In true Trump fashion, he will forget all the loyalty he ever received from the Republicans who voted against him, and he will be focused on revenge.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
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It is the day before Christmas Eve, and Donald Trump just threw a temper tantrum, demanding that a painfully crafted, down-to-the-wire, bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill be changed to include $US2,000 checks for Americans (an idea Democrats floated this summer) and insisting he still might be in the White House after Inauguration Day on January 20.
Is this spiteful as all get-out? Absolutely. Will Trump eventually sign the bill? Probably.
But what this â€” and several other hissy fits we’ve seen from Trump â€” tells us is that the moment Republicans deluded themselves into thinking would never come is here. Trump is turning on the GOP.
In the past few days, even Trump’s firmest supporters in the government have fallen out of favour. The president’s demands have become impossible, according to reports. He wants the Department of Homeland Security to abscond with voting machines that belong to the states. He is discussing military intervention. He wants more lawsuits. Only certifiable loons like disgraced lawyer Sidney Powell and pardoned criminal Michael Flynn have his ear. Even Rudy Giuliani is trying to get him to calm down.
This is the low we had to reach before the Republican Party was forced to make a choice between loyalty to Trump and loyalty to the United States.
The GOP was too cowardly to do it after the evidence became overwhelming that Trump ordered his personal attorney Michael Cohen to bribe a porn star into silence about an extramarital affair with him, or even during Trump’s impeachment. But now reality has forced the GOP’s hand. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last week congratulated Joe Biden on his election win.
Perhaps the party thought this day would never come. In the rosiest of scenarios for the GOP, Trump would have won a second term and left the White House with good feelings about his fellow conservatives.
But that didn’t happen. Trump lost, and instead of cutting bait after that was clear, the GOP indulged his fragile ego to avoid his wrath. Perhaps the party thought that surely this grown man would at some point accept that he lost. But anyone who has watched Trump over this presidency (or any other part of his life) could’ve told you that would never happen. He never takes responsibility for any failure. Instead, he casts the blame on someone else.
And right now Trump is setting things up so that “someone else” is the GOP.
This is the song that doesn’t end
Trump has all but stopped performing the duties of the office of the presidency. He doesn’t care about the coronavirus or the economy. All he cares about in these final days is trying to hold on by any means necessary to the power the White House affords him â€” and, of course, taking revenge on people who stand against him.
According to Axios, Trump already thinks that Vice President Mike Pence hasn’t done enough to stand up for him. And earlier this week, Trump’s assistant sent an email to GOP lawmakers trashing McConnell and taking credit for his Senate victory in November.
This is the Trumpian equivalent of letting the Republican Party know that the Senate majority leader “can’t sit with us.” This is getting petty, and trust that it’s going to stay petty.
A handful of Trump’s allies in the House, such as Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Matt Gaetz of Florida, are entertaining a challenge of the election results by objecting to the electoral votes from swing states during a joint session of Congress on January 6. The challenge will fail because it needs support in both the House and the Senate and Trump does not have the votes in either chamber.
But winning the vote isn’t the entire point. It will tell Trump who is and who is not willing to put him ahead of the United States. And anyone who is not willing to do that will be punished during Trump’s next chapter. Any loyalty before the vote will be forgotten. Just ask Cohen, whose decades of service to Trump were forgotten once he was arrested for breaking the law for his boss.
In an interview with Vanity Fair this week, Cohen said that after the White House, Trump would take his 20 million most die-hard supporters over to his own media platform.
“From them, he just wants $US4.99 a month. And for that $US4.99 a month, you get to listen to all the bulls— and all the far-right-wing conspiracies that Donald Trump can dream up,” Cohen said. “That’s what he’s going to sell you. That’s $US100 million a month, $US1.2 billion a year. That’s going to pay for the gas in his 757.”
No doubt part of Trump’s “bulls—” will be turning those 20 million supporters against the Republican Party, the party he will believe betrayed him.
Republicans should have known Trump was not a man who could be trusted with party leadership. His professional life is littered with bankruptcy and fraud. When the party allowed him to become the nominee in 2016, it was asking for disaster, and it’s getting what it deserves.
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