The GOP faces an uncertain future as rift widens between Trump and McConnell
Former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are no longer on the same page and the divide exhibited this week appears to be a signal of more political discord to come for an already-split Republican Party.
A report published by NPR highlights this week's battle between Trump and McConnell which underscores the vast difference in beliefs within the Republican Party. While one side is hoping to return the political party to its pre-Trump state, Trump loyalists are looking to continue down the dangerous path embarked on during his turbulent presidency.
Not only did a hypocritical McConnell condemn Trump for his actions that led to the U.S. Capitol riots, but he also published a scathing op-ed in the Wall Street Journal—an action that provoked Trump's wrath. Although McConnell admitted that Trump was wrong, his failure to convict the former disgraced president and his attempt to justify that action will likely come back to haunt him in the coming months.
In a response to McConnell's op-ed, Trump released declaring war on the anti-Trump Republican lawmakers in the Senate. Describing McConnell as "a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," Trump said, "[I]f Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again."
Now, political analysts are weighing in with their take on what Trump's threat could mean. Evan McMullin, a former House Republican Conference policy director, shared the perspective of those ready to distance from Trumpism. "I've had a number of political people reach out — leaders and grassroots people reaching out," McMullin said. "They've had enough and are ready to move on, ready for change."
However, he also noted that complete distance from Trump will not come easily. It may even take the party years to do so. "My view of Trump and Trumpism is it was a logical next step on a destructive trajectory that was already present in the GOP before Trump came along," he said.
"If the party continues to run on Trumpism in 2022 and again suffers defeats, then I think we'd see another portion of Republicans desire a different direction, and, at that point, have an even more robust debate within the party," McMullin said. "And that may not be enough to change the direction of the party.
He added, "It may take another cycle or two to change."
With the political party at an impasse, vote splits could also occur which would make Republican lawmakers' possibilities of victory during the primary election even more difficult.
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