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Political Mud Fight: How Trump Fights His Republican Opponents
Donald Trump is known for his outbursts of anger and blasphemy attacks. As the US President, he loved to let his feelings run free on Twitter. In the more than 34,000 tweets he posted during his presidency, he repeatedly drew on political opponents and independent media. He even fired some employees via tweet.
In the meantime, the short message service has blocked the ex-president’s account. Trump continues to fire his tirades. He recently went public in a 600-word statement. His statement is not just a settlement with Mitch McConnell, one of the most important politicians in the Republican Party. It is like an internal declaration of war.
Trump’s attack is the last stage of escalation so far in a conflict that has been simmering with the Republicans for some time. Supporters of the former president and Trump critics are fighting each other more and more openly within the party. The outcome of the dispute could determine the future of the Republican Party.
What exactly happened between Trump and McConnell?
Donald Trump took to the barricades against Senator Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell is the US Republican parliamentary group leader in the Congress Chamber. He thus has one of the most influential positions for the party. Trump now considers McConnell unsuitable.
The Republican Party could never be strong or respected again with leaders like McConnell, Trump said. And further: “If the Republican Senators stand by him, they will never win again.” Trump also approached McConnell on a personal level:
The 78-year-old was “one of the most unpopular politicians in the US”, a “gloomy, disgruntled” politician “who doesn’t smile”. He lacks “political understanding, wisdom, talent and personality”.
McConnell did not respond publicly to Trump’s attacks. According to the news channel CNN, he just laughed and decided to ignore Trump as best he could. It is questionable whether the Republican will do it that easily. Because at the moment it doesn’t look as if Trump has given up hope of political influence with his presidency.
Why is Trump attacking McConnell so violently?
In fact, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell were allies for a long time. McConnell is considered an experienced politician – he has been a member of the Senate since 1985 – and a clever tactician. He was therefore repeatedly described as the man who pulled the strings in the background of Trump’s presidency.
While Trump was loudly and impulsively trumpeting his ideas into the world, McConnell tried to push through Republican goals – for example, he managed to install nearly 200 conservative judges. Successes that also put Trump in a good light. A former employee of the Trump administration once summed up the relationship between the two politicians in relation to the magazine “
The New Yorker”: “Trump wanted to drain the political swamp. And now he’s working with the greatest swamp creature of all. “
However, since the storm on the Capitol, the relationship between the two has changed dramatically. In January, supporters of Trump forcibly gained access to the parliament building and rioted there. Five people died that day.
McConnell accused Trump
In response, the US Democrats initiated a second impeachment process against Trump, who is believed to be largely responsible for the storming of the Capitol. In the process, McConnell first voted in the Senate to acquit Trump. Because, according to his reasoning, it is not the task of the Senate to judge a president who has already left office.
The y were provoked by the president and other powerful people” and had tried “to use fear and violence” to stop a confirmation of Joe Biden’s election victory. He also added that Trump could continue to be prosecuted for his actions through legal channels.
Trump probably saw this public accusation as an affront. And reacts to it in his typical way: with anger and abuse.
Trump insults people all the time – why is that even important?
Trump’s most recent outbreak is relevant as it shows two things: First, he doesn’t seem to be planning to disappear from the political scene as quickly as some might wish. Second, his attack symbolizes how torn the Republican Party is right now – and how hard Trump supporters and critics fight each other within the party.
Trump still enjoys great approval within the party, but also among voters. According to a survey by the US portal “Politico”, 59 percent of the Republican electorate want Trump to play an important role in their party in the future.
Trump has a large following
The Republicans are also aware of Trump’s popularity, explains Josef Braml, head of the America program at the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) to watson. He means:
The Republicans have seen that, despite his – in their eyes unconventional and problematic – administration, Trump did not suffer a dramatic defeat in the 2020 elections, as many expected, but received 10 million more votes than in his first election in 2016.”
That puts MPs who oppose Trump in a difficult position. In two years there will be again congressional elections, in which the House of Representatives and part of the Senate will be re-elected. «Above all, senators who have to run for re-election in 2022 do not want to be considered regicide in the eyes of Trump supporters and be punished for it, ”says Braml.
Republicans who openly oppose Trump are already being sanctioned. One of them is Liz Cheney. Cheney is a Republican MP in the House of Representatives and part of the parliamentary group leadership there. She was one of ten Republican MPs who voted in the House of Representatives for impeachment against Trump. For this, Cheney was massively attacked within the party and even received an official reprimand from the Republicans in their home state of Wyoming. Since their vote, Cheney, who was always considered to be well connected in the party, has been increasingly marginalized.
But other MPs also feel the anger of the party’s Trump supporters: In many constituencies of the Republicans who voted for an impeachment procedure, opponents from their own party are now standing up for the congressional election in 2022 – in order to dispute the political office of the Trump critics.
What does this mean for the future of Republicans?
Trump no longer likes to be the US president. But he and his supporters still manage to decisively influence events in the Republican Party. USA expert Josef Braml also emphasizes the central role that Trump still plays there:
“I don’t see a candidate in the ranks of the Republicans who, without Trump’s blessing, could succeed in holding together the various currents of the Republican electorate, including Trump nationalists, Christian rights and business liberals.”
The Democrats could use the Republicans’ divisions to their advantageBraml continues. At least if they succeed in “making political capital out of their electoral success by solving or at least alleviating many of the country’s pressing problems.”
Trump’s opponents are hoping for an investigation
Which Republican camp will win the bitter dispute in the long run remains to be seen. Trump has shown again and again how aggressive he is against unwelcome colleagues. At the same time, his internal party critics could perhaps get help from outside in the long run:
The Georgia state attorney’s office has opened an investigation into Trump for attempting to overturn his electoral defeat there. And the attorney general in the federal capital Washington DC is currently examining a possible investigation against Trump because of the incidents in the Capitol.
The recently assumed US President Joe Biden recently criticized the media hype surrounding Donald Trump over the past few years. “I’m tired of talking about Trump.” He wants to steer the focus away from the former president. A luxury that many in the Republican Party will probably not be able to afford at first.
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