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Why are Republicans suddenly acting like they’re part of a drug cartel?
Donald Trump has basically been sentenced to life in political prison. He’s been impeached twice, exiled to Florida, and muzzled by the press and Twitter. In a less metaphorical sense, Trump is also guaranteed to face serious legal problems too. But like any good crime boss, Trump’s imprisonment has not loosened his grip on his cartel. In fact, El Trumpo’s old gang is still on the street jacking legislative vehicles, busting committee heads, and slinging political PCP.
And it’s clear that Trump is ordering every hit from his jail cell in Mara-a-Lago.
The first name on his list is Rep. Liz Cheney, who is the #3 Republican in the House, and who voted to impeach him. For this, Trump sent MAGA enforcer Rep. Matt Gaetz all the way to Wyoming to whack her from House Leadership.
To diffuse this situation, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was spotted in Palm Beach kissing El Trumpo’s ring. But this conjugal visit wasn’t enough to dissuade Trump from his revenge. McCarthy was only able to save Cheney’s political life by pulling a fast one on the boss — by putting her supporters into witness protection. In an anonymous vote on a secret ballot, the GOP retained Cheney as their #3 gal by a wide margin.
Rank-and-file Republicans celebrated their win. But their joy will be short-lived. After all, they’re the ones who have to wear a mask in public, while MAGA enforcers like Gaetz strut around like it’s still 2019.
In the Senate, it’s clear that Trump’s GOP capos know the cost of snitching on the boss. 45 of 50 Republicans voted last week against the constitutionality of even holding an impeachment trial.
Here’s a thought: when Trump’s trial does begin, what do you think Senate Republicans will have their eyes on? The facts of the proceedings, or MAGA enforcers like Don Jr. watching from the back of the courtroom? Someone has clearly gotten to this jury, and it’s already running scared from homestate primaries backed by the boss.
Finally, in the House, the day after sparing Liz Cheney, Republicans were forced to defend loyal MAGA soldier, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, from a Democratic drive-by. In her 3 weeks in office, Greene has humiliated her party by endorsing whacko conspiracy theories and for statements in her past that encouraged violence against liberals. And for that, Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic Cartel — a group notoriously easy to offend — demanded that she be made to sleep with the fishes.
Privately, many Republicans doubtless agreed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even said that she was a “cancer for the Republican Party” on account of her “loony lies.”
That’s some bold talk, even for a made man like McConnell. But regardless of the muscle he’s showing against a punk like Greene, the Leader remains cagey about his vote to impeach Trump himself. The press is reporting that he’s told his Conference that impeachment is a “vote conscience,” but no one thinks that means Senate Republicans are ready to go to war.
That’s because Trump’s street credibility with voters far exceeds theirs. In fact, most GOP officials were glad to turn their offices into fronts for Trump’s operation, distributing his destructive political PCP to every district and Census tract. Now, four years later, there’s no arguing that the Republican Party hasn’t gotten a little too high on its own supply, and is battling an addiction that may be its death.
An impeachment trial is coming. It could set things straight, but almost certainly will not. In politics, survival is the only universal law on the street– and the bosses have very long memories.