MSNBC's John Heilemann said fear of Donald Trump was leading the Republican Party down a dark and self-destructive path.
The turmoil inside the GOP caucus -- embodied by the failed vote to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from leadership and the scramble to protect Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) -- can all be traced back to the party's continued fear of the former president, who has been exiled from social media back to his Mar-A-Lago resort.
"Marjorie Taylor Greene did something smart this weekend," said the "Morning Joe" contributor. "She got on Twitter and said, 'I've been talking to Donald Trump, he's got my back, I'm on the phone with him, he's supporting me.' There's still fear among all the House Republicans of Donald Trump's ghost, the possibility that Donald Trump has such a hold, and there is reason to be afraid of it. They look at the polling. they see the degree of loyalty in the Republican base to Donald Trump, even though he is out of office, and they fear Donald Trump in the next two years could still endorse a primary challenger on their right and that they would have political problems."
"It's craven, it's absurd, it's focused more on their own political interests, not in the party's interest, not in all the you things laid out," Heilemann added. "She saved herself by hugging Donald Trump, and Trump has not said a word to suggest he's not entirely in. He loves Qanon, has always been for it. That's the answer. It's the Trump factor yet again. We thought Trump was gone, [but] he is still the major political animating force for Kevin McCarthy, who flew down and kissed the ring. It's appalling and self-destructive, but it's going on."
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