Karl Rove, best known for his work as former President George W. Bush’s top political strategist, made a surprising admission this week about the state of the Republican Party.
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf reports that Rove and National Review editor Rich Lowry recently had a panel discussion about the future of the Republican Party in which Rove acknowledged that President Donald Trump has taken total hold of the party’s identity.
“He has an enormously strong hold on the rank and file of the Republican Party,” he said. “It’s very high and it’s durable… He’s our leader now, and if people attack him, we rally to him. The average Republican says that he’s my guy.”
Rove said that this kind of arrangement is perilous for the party’s long-term future, however, because there’s little indication that it has any idea what it will do once Trump is off the scene.
“We are in a mess,” he said. “We are in a place where the party is going to have to figure out what it stands for. Because Donald Trump is going to be here for four years or eight years but after him it’s hard to see what comes next.”
Rove also described Trump as “an impulse” more than a governing philosophy.