“At this point, I won’t defend him anymore,” said ARI Fleischer, a former White House press secretary for George W. Bush and a GOP strategist who voted for Trump. On Thursday morning, there was loud applause and shouts of “We love you!” when Trump phoned into a breakfast meeting of the Republican National Committee in Florida.
He ultimately agreed to record the video after White House counsel Pat Cipollone warned that he could face legal jeopardy for inciting the riot. Trump has no plans to disappear from the political debate once he leaves office, according to aides who believe he remains wildly popular among the Republican rank-and-file.
And because of the voters' continued loyalty, elected officials in deep red areas must remain loyal to the outgoing president as well, even if his own Cabinet does not. Josh Hawley, of Missouri, and Ted Cruz, of Texas, embraced Trump's calls to reject Biden's victory before and after the mob attack.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton resisted Trump's wishes, drawing an angry tweet from the president earlier in the week. On Thursday, Cotton chastised Republican colleagues like Hawley and Cruz, who had given voters “false hope” that Trump's November loss could be overturned.
Doug Season, a Texas-based donor who served on the Trump campaign's finance committee, said this week's events have done nothing to shake his confidence in the Republican president. Associated Press writers Meg Inward in Columbia, South Carolina, and Darlene Supervise in Wilmington, Delaware contributed to this report.
“President Trump has orchestrated a campaign to cause an insurrection that overturns the results of a free, fair and legal election.” “All indications are that the president has become unmoored not just from his duty or even his oath but from reality itself,” Kin zinger said in a video statement posted on Twitter.
“It is for this reason that I call for the Vice President and members of the Cabinet to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people and that we have a sane captain of the ship.” Larry Hogan Maryland’s governor may be the most prominent GOP figure to demand Trump ’s removal.
Sen. Ben Sassy (R-NE) did not directly call for Trump ’s removal, but in an interview with CBS This Morning, he signaled that he was open to impeachment proceedings. Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that empowers you through understanding.
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While Republicans tried to reset in Georgia and prepare for the two runoff races, the president set off a civil war within his own party as he launched a divisive campaign to overturn the 2020 election. For the next few weeks, the president’s focus remained on trying to overturn his personal results in Georgia and other states.
Even at a Monday rally designed to drum up voting for Offer and Purdue, the president obsessed over his own political grievances, swiping at lawmakers from his own party, including Georgia Republican Gov. The behavior left Republicans shaking their heads Tuesday night, incensed that it might have cost them two critical races.
They ticked off a variety of reasons why Trump was to blame, even offering conflicting theories. For instance, while some Republicans wished Trump had been more involved in the races, others argued he should have actually excised himself from the situation.
Behind the scenes, Georgia Republicans were also frustrated that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son and one of the GOP’s most popular surrogates, backed out of appearances in the state on the Sunday before the election. In the end, Republicans appeared gobsmacked at the emerging results in two Senate races that most believed favored the GOP at the outset.
Longtime Trump ally Tom Cotton, a senator from Arkansas, said in a statement, “It’s pastime for the president to accept the results of the election, quit misleading the American people, and repudiate mob violence.” Some supporters of Trump ’s attempt to get Congress to reject the Electoral College votes of key states won by Joe Biden said they changed their plans after the violence Wednesday.
Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina pinned the blame for the mob that broke into the Capitol squarely on Trump. “The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point,” Burr said in a statement, noting that courts had already rejected Trump ’s efforts to overturn his November election loss to Biden.
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the chamber’s GOP leadership team, told reporters, “It’s a tragic day, and he was part of it.” Former New Jersey Governor and Trump supporter Chris Christie flagged that the president and his son had spoken to the crowd, and the subsequent violence “is the result of their words,” whether intended or not.
The day also saw a notable split between Trump and his own vice president, with Mike Pence issuing a statement saying he had no intention of interfering with the congressional validation of Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. “His treatment of Mike Pence is unjustified, wrong and just really unfortunate,” GOP Senator Kevin Crater of North Dakota told reporters, referring to Trump.
A week after Election Day, only four Republican senators, including Mitt Romney of Utah, had acknowledged Biden’s win. The internecine tensions deepened as the outgoing president increasingly attacked authorities in his own party for failing to overturn his loss in Georgia, which has a GOP governor and Secretary of State.
Trump ’s first tweet following the Capitol breach urged protesters to “stay peaceful,” but fell short of telling them to vacate the building. “Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Pence tweeted.
Senator Ted Cruz, one of the Republicans who had led the efforts to challenge the Electoral College results in Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, also condemned the mob that broke into congressional buildings. French Hill, an Arkansas Republican, told Bloomberg News that it was time for Trump to address the protesters and encourage a peaceful transfer of power so the nation could move forward.
2 Senate Republican, earlier in the day began assigning blame to Trump for the party’s poor performances in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections on Tuesday -- saying the president’s unsupported claims of rigged elections had given voters less incentive to show up and vote for their candidates. “President Trump claims the election was stolen,” McConnell said in his speech after the joint congressional session began.
Dismissing those claims, he said that the election wasn’t even particularly close and that it was Congress’s job under the Constitution to accept the results and certify Biden the winner. McConnell excoriated the effort by more than a dozen of Republicans to lodge what amounted to a doomed protest vote against the election results.
Most Senate Republicans seemed likely to follow his lead, even before the mob broke into the Capitol and lawmakers were evacuated in a chaotic episode that drew global condemnation. ), one of the ring leaders of the effort, stared directly at the camera as he preached about how “violence is never warranted” and that the Senate floor is the only appropriate forum to try to overturn the results of a presidential election, and that he will continue to do so.
Lank ford, who was in the process of arguing in favor of contesting the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes when the mob of Trump supporters first breached the Capitol, was the first to speak when the Senate reconvened. “Rioters and thugs don’t run the Capitol,” he said in conceding that Joe Biden would be certified the winner of the election.
This idea, that we’re America, and we’re better than this, was a theme of the post-insurrection addresses by the Republicans who helped the president inspire that very insurrection. Though Lank ford and others back-peddled, over half of the Republicans elected to Congress are still actively trying to subvert this process, mostly through a bad-faith citation of a 150-year-old “precedent” that has little to do with what this is all about: placating a delusional, power-mad president who wants to stay in office despite losing his bid for reelection by a wide margin.
If America is “better” than an unruly mob storming the Capitol at the behest of the president these senators have supported despite four years of deliberately turning the nation against itself, then it’s also better than the twin anti-democratic scheme the mob’s partners in Congress are trying to pull off to score political points with Trump ’s base. The two efforts are one and the same, and any rebukes of this violence from the senators contesting the certification of the election should ring as hollow as their consciences.
Rep. Matt Gaeta (R-Fla.) tried to shield Trump supporters from responsibility by lying that the violence was the result of left-wing extremists. “Some people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters,” Gaeta said in defending his decision to continue to object to the election results.
“They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.” “I don’t know if the reports are true,” he said before referencing his source for the claim, which has since been easily debunked.
Trump and his henchmen in Congress like Gaeta have been spewing it order to divide the country for four years now. What happened on Wednesday was a predictable result of demonizing the media, casting those who don’t share the same views as enemies of America, and repeatedly winking and nodding toward the idea of inciting violence.
When Rep. Louie Former (R-Texas)’s lawsuit to overturn the election was dismissed earlier this week, he described it as “a call to go to the streets and be violent.” Minutes before Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol to take the country back on Wednesday, his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told them to engage in “trial by combat.” Gaeta, Former, Giuliani, and the other Republicans are dismissing what happened on Wednesday and continuing their effort to overturn the election because they know they can simply lie about whatever reflects poorly on them, like people dying.