During a CNN "New Day" panel discussion on the Georgia primary being held on Tuesday, both CNN's own John Avlon and the New York Times' Maggie Haberman agreed that Donald Trump's influence on the Republican Party is in collapse and the expected loss of Trump-backed candidate David Perdue is a sign to other Republicans it's time to move on.
Speaking with host John Berman, Haberman said the fact that Mike Pence traveled down to Georgia to back Trump nemesis Gov. Brian Kemp is a "direct thumb in the eye" to his former boss.
"What exactly is he doing?" host Berman asked of Pence.
"He's making it clear, as you say, there is separation from Donald Trump," the Times journalist explained. "Mike Pence is trying to position himself potentially for 2024 from Donald Trump without the baggage, without the drama and there's no clear way to do that. And in Georgia where this was a focal point of Donald Trump in 2020 in his efforts to try to subvert the results of election victory for Joe Biden."
"You put up Perdue, Donald Trump, as a torpedo against him and it's failed pretty badly," she continued. "Now Pence is not coming in early in the race, Pence is coming in at the very end. But it's something of a thumb in Trump's eye. I think Pence's people would deny that that's the case, but that's absolutely the case."
"This is the core selling point that Pence is offering," CNN analyst Avlon contributed. "I am Trump without the chaos. I am Trump without the sedition. And he's getting in late but you've got to see, there are cracks in MAGAland; in some cases there are chasms."
"It's not just Mike Pence, although this race is a key test" he continued. "Donald Trump put in $2.6 million of his PAC money in the race, put Perdue up to this. It appears from early polling, that this is coming up against serious headwinds, Mike Pence trying to surge back. In Pennsylvania, Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, backing McCormick. Chris Christie, Trump's former close friend, campaigning early and aggressively for Kemp as a friend of the Republican Governors Association. This is all happening under Trump's nose; his grip on the party is not over by any means but it is slipping a bit."
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