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Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party is being increasing challenged by GOP rivals who have less fear of the former president's rage following Georgia's primary election results.
Former Gov. Chris Christie has emerged as a leading critic of Trump's fixation on his delusions about the 2020 presidential election, which was won by Joe Biden.
“We have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday,” Christie told Politico. “But more important than that, what we have to decide is: do we want to be the party of me or the party of us? What Donald Trump has advocated is for us to be the ‘party of me,’ that everything has to be about him and about his grievances.’”
During an appearance on Guy Benson's Fox Radio show, Christie again offered his analysis of the former president.
"The mainstream media will overinterpret this as being the end of Donald Trump in the Republican Party, and it is far from it. But what it shows you is if he continues to look backwards, guy, he is not going to be a political force in this party for much longer," he predicted.
Christie also had harsh words for Trump when speaking to students at Harvard University.
“You cannot stand behind the seal of the president of the United States, in the East Room of the White House, and tell the American people that the election is stolen and not present them with any evidence that it’s been stolen,” Christie said. “Because people believe the president, a lot of people do, and they think to themselves, ‘Well, he wouldn’t say that unless he knew something.’ He knows nothing!”
But others in the party are still standing by Trump.
At a rally in Wyoming for Harriet Hageman, who is challenging Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Mike Lindell claimed that Donald Trump did not lose in Georgia because he claims Gov. Brian Kemp was not the real winner of the primary.
Lindell went on to claim that there was also fraud in Wyoming and that Trump did not win by 120,000 votes.
"He really won by 142,00," Lindell falsely claimed.
\u201cMike Lindell has arrived at the Trump rally, saying that the Deep State \u201cdialed up the algorithms\u201d to steal the GOP primaries of Kemp and Raffensperger to embarrass Trump. \u201cYou think Brian Kemp got 73%? Impossible! They stole that election!\u201d\u201d— Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Ron Filipkowski \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1653757049
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado traveled to Wyoming on Saturday to try and fire fellow Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.
Boebert is campaigning for Harriet Hageman, who is challenging Cheney in the GOP primary for the state's at-large seat in Congress.
"I want to tell you a story about his generosity," she said, referring to Trump, who is the top topic in the race.
"About how kind he is, about how welcoming he is. The thing that these folks right here in the back never let anyone see," she said, pointing to the press. "Fake media is the virus."
"My family and I were with President Trump, and even not like germs, Trump shared a bowl of popcorn with my 14-year-old son. Now listen Wyoming, I know where he's been, I don't share food with my son," the mother of four said.
Other Republicans who traveled to Wyoming for the rally include Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Kat Cammack (R-FL).
Watch the clip below or at this link.
\u201cBoebert: I want to tell you a story about his generosity, about how kind he is\u2026 Even not liking germs, President Trump shared a bowl of popcorn with my son\u2026 I don\u2019t share food with my son.\u201d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1653768490
Texas Dems demand special session to raise the age to buy AR-15s and require background checks: report
The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is urging Gov. Greg Abbott to call an emergency special legislative session to consider a variety of gun restrictions and safety measures in the wake of a mass school shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two adults dead this week.
In a letter released Saturday morning, all 13 Senate Democrats demanded lawmakers pass legislation that raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 years old. The Uvalde gunman was 18 and had purchased two AR-style rifles which he used in the attack.
The caucus is also calling for universal background checks for all firearm sales, “red flag” laws that allow a judge to temporarily remove firearms from people who are considered an imminent threat to themselves or others, a “cooling off period” for the purchase of a firearm and regulations on high capacity magazines for citizens.
“Texas has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state. In Sutherland Springs, 26 people died. At Santa Fe High School outside Houston, 10 people died. In El Paso, 23 people died at a Walmart. Seven people died in Midland-Odessa,” the letter reads. “After each of these mass killings, you have held press conferences and roundtables promising things would change. After the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, those broken promises have never rung more hollow. The time to take real action is now.”
Such laws are unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has a track record of favoring legislation that loosens gun restrictions. Only the governor has the power to call lawmakers back into a special session for emergency work.
Asked about a special session at a Friday press conference in Uvalde, Abbott said “all options are on the table” adding that he believed laws would ultimately be passed to address this week’s horrors. However, he suggested laws would be more tailored toward addressing mental health, rather than gun control.
“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws are passed, that I will sign, addressing health care in this state,” he said, “That status quo is unacceptable. This crime is unacceptable. We’re not going to be here and do nothing about it.”
He resisted the idea of increasing the age to purchase a firearm, saying that since Texas became a state, 18-year-olds have been able to buy a gun.
He also dismissed universal background checks saying existing background check policies did not prevent the Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs shootings, which both happened while he has been in office.
“If everyone wants to seize upon a particular strategy and say that’s the golden strategy right there, look at what happened in the Santa Fe shooting,” he said. “A background check had no relevance because the shooter took the gun from his parents…Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks as opposed to mental health, I suggest is mistaken.”
Since the massacre at Robb Elementary School, the governor’s comments about potential solutions have centered around increasing mental health services, rather than restricting access to firearms.
But in the letter, Senate Democrats criticized the governor for blaming a “broken mental health care system – that you and other state leaders continue to underfund severely.”
“We need evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws. Without a doubt, if at least some of the measures noted above had been passed since 2018, then many lives could have been saved,” the caucus wrote.
Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter.
After the Santa Fe school shooting in 2018, Abbott released a variety of recommendations to address school safety, including a call to the Legislature to consider a “red flag” law.
At the time, Abbott claimed in his plan to improve school safety that similar protective orders restricting gun possession could have prevented the mass shootings in Sutherland Springs, southeast of San Antonio, and Parkland, Florida.
By the end of the 2019 legislative session Abbott signed a package of school safety measures that primarily focused on expanding mental health resources and “hardening school buildings.” He expanded the number of school staff who could have a firearm on school grounds.
When he signed that legislation at the end of the 2019 session, reporters asked if he still supported a “red flag” law.
Abbott said such a measure wasn’t necessary in Texas “right now.”
On Friday, Roland Gutierrez, the Democratic state senator who represents Uvalde, interrupted Abbott’s press conference by walking to the front of the auditorium and urged the governor to bring lawmakers back for three weeks.
"We have to do something, man,” he said to Abbott, the second Democratic politician to interrupt a press conference this week. "Just call us back.”
In the hours after the shooting on Tuesday, Gutierrez told the Texas Tribune that the state needed to make it more difficult to obtain a firearm, especially the gun used by the shooter, an AR-15, which he called a “weapon of mass destruction.”
“There's not a hunter in Texas that utilizes these kinds of weapons,” he said. “And so I'm not saying let's take those kinds of weapons away, I'm saying that we should have some greater accessibility restrictions …When you've got an 18-year-old kid getting his hands on this kind of weaponry, it just makes no sense to me.”