On Wednesday, Politico reported that the departure of former President Donald Trump from the White House has caused a growing rift between Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate in how to approach dealing with the new Biden administration.
"The Senate GOP is firmly behind Alaskan Lisa Murkowski's reelection bid even after she voted to convict the former president of inciting an insurrection," wrote Burgess Everett and Melanie Zanona. "But across the Capitol, House Republicans are largely leaving Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez on his own following his impeachment vote as Trump endorses his primary challenger."
Both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have pushed back on the former president after the January Capitol insurrection, with McCarthy calling Trump to demand he make his supporters stand down, and McConnell suggesting the courts should decide whether Trump's conduct was criminal.
But they have not renounced him entirely, with McConnell saying he would "absolutely" back Trump as the nominee again in 2024 — and their caucuses have even more divisions. The divide can be seen in how each party caucus is handling Trump skeptics in their ranks.
"McCarthy ... wouldn't say whether he would help the reelection campaign of his deputy, GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, whose vote to remove Trump from office has helped draw a primary challenge: 'Liz hasn't asked me' to step in, he said," said the report. "While McCarthy holds off, McConnell has gone out of his way to defend Cheney — even though she's a House member and there's no Senate race in Wyoming this cycle."
"Hugging Trump has become priority number one for most House Republicans, with feting the former president in Mar-a-Lago becoming a rite of passage among their leaders," continued the report. "GOP senators, by contrast, are trying to chart a different path forward — one built on policy rather than Trump's personality — figuring that will make their party's brand more effective than attaching itself to one man. Don't expect Mitch McConnell to show up in Florida any time soon."