A conservative group’s push to unseat incumbent GOP senators is infuriating Trump and his allies: report
Although The Lincoln Project is a right-wing group, it is not only hoping for former Vice President Joe Biden to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election, but also, is trying to help Democrats achieve a majority in the U.S. Senate. The group’s viewpoint is that Trump has been so toxic for the Republican Party and the conservative movement that a Democratic tsunami is needed in order to rid the GOP of Trumpism. And reporters Jonathan Easley and Max Greenwood, in an article published by The Hill on August 11, stress that the group’s push for a Democratic Senate is really getting under the skin of Trump and his supporters.
“In addition to a relentless negative ad campaign against Trump, the group has so far spent more than $1.3 million attacking Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who is among the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection,” Easley and Greenwood note — adding that The Lincoln Project has “targeted” many other incumbent Republican senators as well, including Arizona’s Martha McSally, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, Texas’ John Cornyn and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Never Trump conservative Reed Galen, a co-founder of The Lincoln Project, told The Hill that “the Senate map has expanded” in a way that helps Democrats and that the group is also “taking a look at the House.” Democrats presently have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and members of The Lincoln Project believe that expanding that majority would be another way for the U.S. to reject Trumpism.
Galen told The Hill, “The stated goal from the beginning was to defeat Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to call out his enablers. These senators we’ve gone after are not conservative Republicans in any classical sense of those words.... They should have T’s behind their names, not R’s.”
One of the Trump allies who is furious with The Lincoln Project is Steve Guest, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee — who slammed the anti-Trump group as “grifters” and “political opportunists” who are “solely concerned with making a quick buck for themselves.” And Joanna Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, used similar rhetoric when she described The Lincoln Project as “a Democratic scam PAC run by a bunch of grifters desperate to remain relevant and fill their own coffers.”
But Guest and Rodriguez’ snarky comments in support of Trump don’t erase the fact that members of The Lincoln Project have very Republican backgrounds. Steve Schmidt, for example, was a senior adviser to the late Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign — and Republican strategist Rick Wilson (author of the 2018 book “Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever”) has been active in right-wing politics for decades. So has attorney George Conway, who is married to Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
There are no doubt some prominent Republicans who are afraid to criticize Trump publicly but will vote for Biden on Election Day and share The Lincoln Project’s view that he has been terrible for conservatism. Galen, however, has no pity for closet Trump opponents, arguing they need to put the good of the United States above their own political interests.
Galen told The Hill, “If the head of the party is Donald Trump and you disagree on policy, politics and decorum — and the best you can summon is that you’re worried and concerned and hope that he does better — that’s not opposition. I get, from a political perspective, you don’t want to draw his ire, but at some point, you have to take a stand on these things. When history looks back, will you have stood with the U.S. and fought for the underpinnings of democracy or not? These people have made their choices.”