Elizabeth Preza

GOP in disarray after historic defeat: ‘Political disaster doesn’t begin to describe how bad this is for Republicans’

A new report from Roll Call details some of the many challenges facing the Republican Party as it looks to an uncertain future following former President Donald Trump's electoral defeat.

As the party turns its focus to the 2022 midterms, it remains "divided over Trump, their midterm prospects and the state of the GOP itself," Roll Call's Bridget Bowman, Kate Ackley, and Stephanie Akin report.

While some, like Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), insist the Republican Party is "very unified" when compared with their Democratic counterparts, the reality is that many in the GOP, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are bracing for primary challenges. Some McConnell allies told Roll Call they're anticipating "'a large-scale campaign' to block far-right candidates in primaries."

Trump has already made it clear that he intends to "primary the hell" out of any Republicans who didn't back the president's effort to overturn the election.

"Political disaster doesn't begin to describe how bad this is for Republicans," GOP consultant Alex Conant said.

"The 2022 primaries are going to be where those tensions get tested," former Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Ryan A. Costello told Roll Call.

And former National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) head Rep. Thomas M. Davis III likewise cautioned the party against allowing Trump to maintain control even after it suffered crippling defeat in under his leadership.

"The more Trump hangs around, the intensity, as we saw in Georgia, stays with Democrats," Davis said.

While some new Republican House members have made their allegiance to Trump known, others are taking a different approach to attract voters in the party. One such congresswoman is Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that she wants "to be a new voice for the Republican Party."

"That's one of the reasons I've spoken out so strongly against the president, against these QAnon conspiracy theorists that led us in a constitutional crisis," Mace said.

But Mace's goal of uniting a party that rejects the very same conspiracy and cynicism Trump embraced (loudly) over the past 5 years may be far-fetched, at best. As GOP consultant Mike DuHaime told Roll Call, "if the party behaves like it has in the last two months, we shouldn't count on any success."

PA officials demand Rep. Scott Perry resign over report he played role in Trump scheme to replace AG

The New York Times on Saturday singled out Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) as a member of Congress who "played a significant role" in former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election — and now, lawmakers in Perry's state are calling for the congressman's resignation.

According to the Times, while Perry was hardly a main character in the president's unsuccessful attempt to usurp President Joe Biden's electoral victory, he played an integral role in Trump's plan to fire acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. Trump was hoping to replace Rosen, "who stood by the results of the election and had repeatedly resisted the president's efforts to undo them."

Perry introduced Trump to Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official who "was sympathetic to Mr. Trump's view that the election had been stolen," the Times reports.

Per the Times:

"As the date for Congress to affirm Mr. Biden's victory neared, Mr. Perry and Mr. Clark discussed a plan to have the Justice Department send a letter to Georgia state lawmakers informing them of an investigation into voter fraud that could invalidate the state's Electoral College results."

According to the Times, the former president "backed down" on his plan to fire Rosen and install Clark "only after top department officials threatened to resign en masse."

As the York Daily Record reports, Perry also "led a House floor objection to Pennsylvania's election results" when Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes. That meeting was interrupted by a mob of angry Trump supporters after the president held a rally and promised to "fight like hell" for the presidency.

Following the publication of the report, officials in Pennsylvania on Saturday called for Perry's resignation. One such official was Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-PA), who offered this succinct message for his Republican colleague.




And Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania attorney general, insisted there "must be consequences" for Perry's actions.




Eugenio DePasquale, who lost out to Perry in 2020's 10th Congressional District election, likewise demanded the representative's resignation, tweeting "Perry must go!"




Perry has not commented on the New York Times report.

'Couldn’t have done it without you': Missouri paper lays the blame for Capitol mob squarely on its own senator's shoulder

Leading Missouri newspaper The Kansas City Star on Wednesday published an editorial excoriating Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) over the Republican leader's effort to block certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory.

Wednesday afternoon, supporters of the president stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. as Congress moved to certify the electoral college vote. The mob forced representatives, senators, congressional reporters and staffers to don gas masks and evacuate the building. One woman on the Capitol grounds was shot in the chest and later died, the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed.

According to The Kansas City Star, Hawley — who was the first senator to join President Donald Trump's last-ditch attempt to reverse the vote — "deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that's been shed" at the nation's Capitol today.

Per the Star:

"No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday's coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway."

Acknowledging the "tragic, outrageous and devastating" events that transpired Wednesday at the Capitol Building, the editorial board described the attack as "wholly consistent with Trump's call to overturn the election to address nonexistent fraud."

"Those of you who have excused all of the brazen lawlessness of this administration can take a little bit of credit for these events, too," the paper wrote. "They couldn't have done it without you."

The Kansas City Star further accused Hawley "and other Republicans who upheld Trump's con about widespread fraud" of "[knowing] all along that his claims were bogus."

The paper then implored Hawley and other Republicans to "surprise us":

"Now that they've seen exactly where those lies have landed us, decency demands that they try to prevent further violence by making clear that Joe Biden did not win by cheating."

Read the full editorial at The Kansas City Star.

'Like being a hostage negotiator': How Trump’s handlers finally got him to sign the COVID relief bill

A new report from Axios describes the negotiations between President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, as Mnuchin and McCarthy tried to get Trump to sign the COVID relief and government spending bill that had stalled at the president's desk for days.

Axios' Mike Allen writes that negotiating with "a cranky, stubborn President Trump" was "like being a hostage negotiator, or defusing a bomb."

In a video posted to Twitter last Tuesday, the president put the fate of the stimulus and government spending bill at risk when he called on Congress to raise the $600 checks to $2,000. In that video, the president described the proposed payments as "ridiculously low."

Shortly after posting the video, Trump flew to his private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago. The bill, passed by the House and Senate and awaiting the president's signature, followed suit:


Sunday, hours before Trump changed his mind and signed the bill, unemployment benefits for millions of Americans ran out.

According to Axios, in the intervening days between Trump's Twitter video and his ultimate decision to sign the package, Trump insiders — including Mnuchin, McCarthy and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — "indulged the president's rants, told him there was great stuff in the bill, and gave him 'wins' he could announce, even though they didn't change the bill."

Appealing to his "vanity," Allen reports that the president's confidantes finally convinced him "that he had gotten all there was to get" from the bill negotiations.

As Allen reports, the about-face comes too little too late for millions of Americans. And it may have ultimately cost the Republican Party two wins in the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff election.

"It may be too late," Republican pollster Frank Luntz told Axios, "Too late for him, too late for the economy, too late for Covid, and too late for the Georgia senators."

Megachurch pastor who served as Trump evangelical advisor diagnosed with COVID after attending White House party

Pastor Jentezen Franklin, the senior pastor at Georgia megachurch Free Chapel, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a White House Christmas party with his daughter earlier this month, the Charlotte Observer reports.



Free Chapel pastor Javon Ruff announced the senior pastor's diagnosis during a live-streamed in person service on Sunday.

Free Chapel spokesperson Tracy Page told McClatchy News that Franklin was "exposed to an associate of the congregation" on Thursday who was infected. The spokesperson said the pastor "is self isolating and abiding by all relevant CDC guidelines."

In a statement, the Gainesville-based Free Chapel — which Charlotte Observer reports has "seven campuses in three states" and resumed in-person services in September — said it will move the church's candlelight service online "due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in our area." The church said the decision was made "out of an abundance of caution."

Per the Charlotte Observer:

"Franklin also attended the September nomination ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett at the White House Rose Garden ceremony, which was later identified as a superspreader event after several people in President Donald Trump's administration, including the president and first lady Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus. Franklin tested negative following the ceremony, WQAD reports.

He has been an ally of the president's and has served as an evangelical adviser to him. He spoke at the Trump campaign's event "Evangelicals for Trump: Praise, Prayer, and Patriotism" in Atlanta in July."

Fox News airs point-by-point fact check of wild election fraud claims during 3 of network's most pro-Trump shows

Fox News this weekend is airing a stunning point-by-point fact check to claims made on programs hosted by the network's most pro-Trump voices after voting technology company Smartmatic send a 20-page legal letter demanding "a full and complete retraction of all false and defamatory statements and reports."

The segment, which features an interview with Palo Open Source Election Technology Institute voting technology expert Eddie Perez, aired on Lou Dobb's Friday show and Jeanine Pirro's Saturday show. Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo will also show the segment.

In its Dec. 10 letter to Fox News Media, Smartmatic charged the company and its hosts with waging "a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic. Fox News told its millions of viewers and readers that Smartmatic was founded by [the late Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez, that its software was designed to fix elections, and that Smartmatic conspired with others to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes." The company also demanded the company "match the attention and audience targeted with the original defamatory publications."

As the Washington Post reports:

"During Friday night's fact-checking segment, the questioner asked Perez: 'Have you seen any evidence of Smartmatic sending U.S. votes to be tabulated in foreign countries?'

This appeared to be a reference to Giuliani's Nov. 12 claim on the show that with Smartmatic software, 'the votes actually go to Barcelona, Spain.' Perez responded, 'No, I'm not aware of any evidence that Smartmatic is sending U.S. votes to be tabulated in foreign countries.'"

Speaking with CNN, Perez said that while he was unaware of the nature of the interview when he spoke to Fox News about Smartmatic, it's important to clear up any confusion the network's viewers have about voting integrity in the United States.

"I felt it was important to talk to Fox News," Perez said. "Of anything potentially more important to be speaking the facts to their audience because there are a lot of consumers of Fox News that have doubts about the election."

Watch the video below:


Expert breaks down the ultimate goal of Trump’s ‘classic Russian-style disinformation campaign’

Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, spoke with CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday to explain the ultimate goal of President Donald Trump's false accusations of a rigged and stolen election.

Rauch was asked by Stelter if the issue is Trump is simply trapped in the delusion that he actually beat President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

"Is delusion a fair word for these election lies?" Stelter wondered.

"No, actually, I don't think it is," Rauch replied. "It's hard to know what's going on in the mind of the president, but you don't really need to. What you need to know is that what he is running right now is a classic Russian-style disinformation campaign of a type known as the firehose of falsehood. That's when you utilize every channel, not just media, but also the bully pulpit, even litigation to push out as many different stories and conspiracy theories and lies and half-truths as you possibly can in order to flood the zone if with disinformation."

"The goal here is to confuse people, and he is doing very well at that," Rauch continued. "This is classic propaganda tactic. he is very good at it. doesn't matter what's going on in his head. what matters is what he is doing.

Rauch described Trump's tactic as "information warfare," arguing he's "manipulating and organizing the social environment and the media environment to confuse and discombobulate [his] enemies, to isolate them, to demoralize them so they don't know what's true or false anymore, they get very frustrated."

Stelter then asked if the issue is that Trump is engaging in a "massive conspiracy theory" which in turn creates a "collective identity" among his supporters. Rauch disagreed with that suggestion.

"There actually is no theory here," Rauch replied. "In a fire hose falsehood campaign, it's not about having one idea and pumping it out consistently. It's about throwing spaghetti against the wall. It's anything and everything. It can be wild. iI can be random. It's to create confusion and epistemic chaos. That's what we are seeing. That's very hard for democracies to deal with it."

Watch the interview below, via CNN:



‘Firehose of falsehood’ youtu.be

Watch: GOP voters corner RNC chair on why they should turn out in Georgia runoff 'when it's already decided'

Saturday, at a campaign stop in Marietta, GA, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel struggled to explain to voters why they should cast ballots in the upcoming Senate runoffs when, as one voter expressed, "it's already decided."

McDaniel was appealing to voters to return to the polls on January 5 and cast their ballots for incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. If Democrats defeat those candidates in Georgia, the party will control the House, Senate and White House at the onset of President-elect Joe Biden's presidency.

But Republican voters, who've faced an ongoing effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to delegitimize the results of the 2020 election, cornered McDaniel about the alleged vote rigging the leader of her party has continuously insisted occurred.

One voter pressed McDaniel about "switching the votes" as she took questions from the crowd.

"We go there in crazy numbers and they should have won—" the attendee said.

"Yeah, we haven't seen that in the audit," McDaniel replied. "That evidence, I haven't seen, so we'll wait to see on that."

"How are we going to spend money and work when it's already decided?" Another demanded.

"It's not decided!" McDaniel insisted. "This is the key. It's not decided."

"How do we know?" another asked.

The event highlighted a key issue Republicans face as the president digs in his heels on his refusal to acknowledge Biden's victory. As the party hopes to maintain control of the Senate, the president continues to undermine the very system that will allow them to do so.

"Well, I told [Perdue and Loeffler] today, I think you're dealing in a very fraudulent system," Trump said during a press conference Thursday. "I'm very worried about that."

Saturday, McDaniel attempted to tamp down the president's complaints about the electoral system, urging voters "to focus on the mission at hand" and promising to deal with the allegations of widespread voter fraud in the future.

"We've got to focus on January 5th right now," McDaniel said. "We can deal with those other things later."

You can watch the clip below:



'Massive grift': GOP rep says party's refusal to acknowledge Biden win is 'just money-making for the 2024 election'

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) said he's "sick" of his own party's refusal to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, calling the move a "massive grift" that's "just money-making for the 2024 election."

"I'm so damn sick of it," Riggleman said. "I'm sick of it."

In an interview with Forbes published Saturday, Riggleman took aim at Trump, the GOP and General Services Administration head Emily Murphy for holding up the Biden transition to soothe Trump's ego and appeal to the Republican base.

"She should've done this well before she did it," Riggleman said of Murphy's delay in authorizing funds for the Biden transition. According to Forbes, Riggleman said the move was made out of "fear of losing your tribe."

"Really speaks to where your intelligence level is… to believe in that type of operation," Riggleman said of Trump's "true believers" who parrot the president's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.

"[Trump] got so desperate to retain power that he forgot he was serving people and not himself," Riggleman said.

'Hero' retiree turns 'Florida man' trope on its head with incredible rescue of puppy from gator's jaw

While a certain Florida man plots how to squat in the White House long past his unceremonious eviction, a venerable Floridian hero is reshaping what it means to be a "Florida man" after surveillance cameras caught him on-tape rescuing his puppy from the jaws of an alligator.



AS CBS Miami reports, Richard Wilbanks, a retiree, wrestled the alligator in his backyard ponds after the reptile snatched up his 3-month-old puppy Gunner.

"We were just out walking by the pond, and it came out of the water like a missile," Wilbanks told CNN. "I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick."

"I just automatically jumped into the water," Wilbanks said of the rescue.

In addition to single-handedly prying open the gator's mouth to free his puppy's leg, observers note that this gentleman is likewise single-handedly redefining what it means to be a "Florida man." Some are also pointing out that this Florida man completed his heroic feat without even dropping his cigar.

Check out some responses below. And learn from Wilkens, who now walks Gunner on a leash, at least 10 feet from the pond's edge.











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