'He will continue to damage the party': Ex-GOP lawmaker warns Republicans that Trump is a 'diminished figure'

'He will continue to damage the party': Ex-GOP lawmaker warns Republicans that Trump is a 'diminished figure'
United States Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Rep. Barbara Comstock

Although Republican Barbara Comstock had a very conservative voting record during her four years in the U.S. House of Representatives, the former congresswoman has been quite critical of her party's overtly Trumpian direction. Comstock believes that the GOP's unending devotion to former President Donald Trump isn't doing her party or the conservative movement any good, and in an op-ed published by the New York Times this week, she argues that it is ridiculous for so many Republicans to be afraid of saying or doing anything that may offend him.

"Many Republicans want to move on from the January 6 attack," the 61-year-old Comstock explains. "But how is that possible when the former president won't move on from the November 3 election and continues to push the same incendiary lies that resulted in 61 failed lawsuits before January 6, led to an insurrection and could lead to yet more violence?"

Comstock points out that Trump's grip on the Republican Party was evident when most Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted against a commission to study the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building.

"Republicans, instead of opposing a commission to investigate the events of January 6, need to be at the forefront of seeking answers on the insurrection and diminishing the power of QAnon and the other conspiracy theories that Mr. Trump has fueled," Comstock writes. "While he is still popular within the party, Mr. Trump is a diminished political figure: 66% of Americans now hope he won't run again in 2024, including 30% of Republicans. He is not the future, and Republicans need to stop fearing him. He will continue to damage the party if we don't face the January 6 facts head-on."

The polling data that Comstock cites comes from Quinnipiac, which found a lot more support for Trump among Republicans than among independents. Two-thirds of Republicans, according to Quinnipiac, are hoping that Trump will run in 2024.

"Many Republican leaders seem to think any all-encompassing investigation (of January 6) will be bad for the party," Comstock notes. "I disagree. Some prominent Republicans want to uncover the truth, as do police officers who heroically protected members of Congress and their staff on January 6. Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after engaging with the Trump-inspired mob, supported Mr. Trump. Officer Michael Fanone, who was shocked multiple times with a stun gun and beaten and suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury, told me he is a Republican. Officer Harry Dunn said, 'We were victims of an assault, of an attack — and we deserve justice, and we deserve to know everybody who was involved. And we want them held accountable."

On June 1, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman reported that Trump believes he will be "reinstated" as president in August — a delusion that Comstock slams as "dangerous" in her op-ed.

"Mr. Trump's lies are red meat to those in the conspiracy world who have already demonstrated what they are prepared to do," Comstock warns. "The danger also extends to states, as Mr. Trump tells people that election outcomes in Georgia and Arizona will be overturned, and he could be reinstated as president in August. How will QAnon followers or Oath Keepers respond when that does not happen?"

Comstock has cited her own state, Virginia, as an example of the damage that Trump has inflicted on the Republican Party. She was first elected to the U.S. House via Virginia in 2014 — when President Barack Obama was serving her second term — and reelected by 5% in 2016. But in 2018, Comstock was voted out of office when Democrat Jennifer Wexton became part of that year's anti-Trump blue wave and defeated her by 13%. And Wexton was reelected in 2020.

Comstock wraps up her op-ed by emphasizing that the more Republicans go along with Trump's lies and extremism, the worst off the GOP will be in the 2022 midterms.

"Republicans need to have more faith in their policies and stop being afraid of a dangerous and diminished man who has divided the country."

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