According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump is giving a preview of his post-presidency by attacking Republicans he feels are disloyal to him as he tries to stay in office, and he may spend his days out of office seeking revenge and turning the GOP into a party dedicated to him.
In recent days, the president has launched attacks on Republican Governors Mike DeWine of Ohio and Brian Kemp of Georgia and suggested they be primaried by another Republican -- and that has GOP consultants worried it would tear the party apart.
"Trump’s intrusions into Georgia and Ohio provide an early test case for how he might use his stranglehold on the conservative base to control the party long after he leaves the White House. Never mind that Trump will no longer be in power: Cross him, and you will pay," Politico's Alex Isenstadt wrote. "While the 2022 midterm elections are a ways off, the president’s broadsides are giving fuel to would-be primary challengers in both states — raising the prospect that Republicans will be forced into ugly and expensive nomination fights that could jeopardize their hold on the two governors’ mansions."
Case in point, there have been rumors that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) -- one of the president's most rabid supporters who would be guaranteed Trump's support -- might consider running against DeWine.
That could set off a battle for control of the party.
“The power the president holds over elected Republicans is due to his strength among GOP primary voters in every state and district right now. He may be able to make or break candidates in GOP primaries for years to come,” explained GOP consultant Mike DuHaime.
According to the report, Trump will get support for his attacks from other Republican lawmakers who have tied their fortunes to him as well as conservative commentators like Fox News personality Sean Hannity. That has some conservatives worried he could cripple the party by causing internal strife when they should be spending their time opposing Democratic policies and candidates.
“In the short term, President Trump’s attacks on these governors serves his interest in casting doubt on the election results. But if it invites serious primary challengers, it could hurt Republicans in the long run and drain valuable resources that would be used for a general election,” remarked Jon Thompson, a former top RGA [Republican Governors Association] official.
Tucker Martin, a former aide to ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, agreed, adding, "I’d be thinking in terms of how do you help reelect Republican governors. Donald Trump doesn’t think that way. His worldview starts and stops with his own personal interests at the exact moment he’s typing out a tweet."
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