Four veteran conservatives declare today’s 'Trumpist' GOP beyond salvation
Michael Steele (MSNBC)

Former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace, Washington Post columnist Max Boot and consultant/lobbyist Juleanna Glover (who served as former Vice President Dick Cheney's press secretary) have a great deal in common politically. All four of them are well-known conservatives, and all of them are blistering critics of former President Donald Trump and the far-right MAGA movement.

The New Republic's Michael Tomasky brought Steele, Wallace, Boot and Glover together for a conversation about conservatism and the direction of the Republican Party in 2023; their discussion was published in Q&A form on April 20. And when Tomasky asked if the GOP can be saved, none of them were optimistic.

Tomasky asked what the "moral question" is for Republicans in 2023, and Glover responded, "It's Trumpism. Are our leaders people who we think should be, above all, principled, honest, exemplary human beings, or is this just about sort of thuggish survival of the fittest, whoever appears the strongest gets to rule the party?"

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Some of the four conservatives Tomasky interviewed have left the Republican Party in response to Trumpism, but Steele is still a Republican — although he supported Democrat Joe Biden for president in 2020 and is the first to admit that he is out of step with 2023's GOP.

Steele said of the Republican Party, "Is it repairable? Is it salvageable? In its current form, the answer is obviously no…. I am still a card-carrying conservative Republican, and I am for a number of reasons. One, because I know it pisses the rest of them off. Two, because I like to claim I was here first. I was in this party at a time when it was not easy, particularly as a Black Republican, to carry water for the party, even back at that time in the mid-’70s."

The harsh truth, Wallace lamented, is that MAGA Republicans like the GOP's current direction.

Wallace, who served as White House communications director under President George W. Bush, told Tomasky and the three other conservatives, "I think that the mistake that I continue to make is that (the Republican Party) wants to be salvaged. I think it is constituted as it wants to be. You see new Republicans emerge in the mold of destructors and not builders. And I think that the people who want to salvage it aren't really vibrant, healthy parts of the Republican body politic anymore. And the people who like it as it is don't want to be salvaged."

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Boot chimed in, "Nicolle has certainly put her finger on a lot of the dysfunction in the current Republican Party, which I, like a lot of the other folks here, don't recognize from the days when I was a Republican — when it stood for free markets, international leadership, was pro-immigration, was pro-NATO, pro- a lot of things that have been abandoned along the way…. Unfortunately, I think we're not going to have any time in the foreseeable future a sane, center-right political party in this country. We're going to have whatever the GOP is, which is largely this far-right populist construct. I wish that voters were rejecting it."