President Donald Trump’s right-wing critics — who range from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to columnist George Will to just about anyone who writes for The Bulwark — have been asserting that Trump is so toxic to the Republican Party and the conservative movement that the only way to clean up the mess is a massive victory for former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. But some Never Trump conservatives are also stressing that a Biden win isn’t enough and that Trumpism must also be repudiated by Democrats retaking the U.S. Senate in November.
Journalists David Catanese and Alex Roarty, in an article published in the Sacramento Bee on July 2, discuss the steps that Never Trumpers are taking to help bring about a Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate. One right-wing group that has been taking out ads attacking Trump and his GOP supporters in the Senate is The Lincoln Project, whose participants include attorney George Conway and conservative strategists Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt.
Schmidt, who left the GOP because of Trump — not unlike Scarborough and Will — told McClatchy Newspapers (which owns the Bee), “The analogy would be in the same way that fire purifies the forest, it needs to be burned to the ground and fundamentally repudiated. Every one of them should be voted out of office, with the exception of Mitt Romney.”
During Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate earlier this year, Romney was the only Republican who voted to convict Trump on one of the two articles of impeachment he faced.
The incumbent GOP senators The Lincoln Project has been attacking with its ad buys include Arizona’s Martha McSally, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Jennifer Horn, who is now an adviser to The Lincoln Project and formerly served as chair of the New Hampshire GOP, told McClatchy that such senators are “the only…. human beings who had the authority and the ability to keep this president in check constitutionally and politically — and every one of them made a conscious decision to not do so. The only way to make sure that Trumpism doesn’t continue to rule the Republican Party for years to come is to make sure that we defeat not only the president, but those people who have enabled him.”
Another right-wing anti-Trump group that will be attacking Trump and incumbent Republican senators this summer is The Bravery Project, which is being launched by former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh — who challenged Trump via a Republican presidential primary but suspended his campaign. According to McClatchy, Walsh is targeting Trump in battleground states like Arizona, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina.
Walsh told McClatchy, “Trump has to lose, and every Republican senator up for reelection has to lose because they’ve enabled (him). Do I want the Democrats to take control of the Senate? No, but I have no choice. To me, these Republicans like Martha McSally and Thom Tillis and Susan Collins have breached their office.”
Walsh continued, “It means the Democrats will be in control of D.C., and they will try to push policies I disagree with. That will leave someone like me fighting against their policies. I don’t look forward to that, but that will be the necessary result.”
Another Never Trump group Catanese and Roarty mention is Republican Voters Against Trump, whose strategic director, Sarah Longwell, told McClatchy that Trump’s “level of power over the party could be determined by what happens in November. If Joe Biden wins in a landslide and takes the Senate down with him, then Republicans are going to realize they’ve made a massive miscalculation.”