Charlotte, NC — Never one to mince words, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sharply predicted this weekend that the Republican Party will be destroyed resulting in the loss of nearly a third of its members should the party leadership vote to convict President Donald Trump during a second impeachment trial.
Senator Paul gave this sobering warning in a Friday interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. He described the second impeachment push against Trump as “crazy,” and further evidence of how the president’s opponents are “bitter.”
“I just don’t understand how they can be moving forward with this,” Paul said. “And look, I’m not just saying I’m for everything President Donald Trump has done. I was for seating the electors because I think Congress shouldn’t overturn the state electors. But at the same time, the thing they are doing is an overreaction, and if they think they’re going to have a positive feeling from the public when they’re going to go through a partisan impeachment again, I think that’s absolutely insane and wrongheaded.”
Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has shown an apparent willingness to conduct an impeachment trial against the president even after he has left office. Paul said that, “They will destroy the Republican Party if leadership is complicit with an impeachment, or if leadership votes for an impeachment, they will destroy the party.”
The junior senator from Kentucky has both supported and opposed President Donald Trump when he thought it was necessary and appropriate. Paul also reiterated that “impeachment is purely a partisan thing” intended simply for moral posturing.
“Look, I didn’t agree with the fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said.
“A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about whether it was a right or wrong debate. This isn’t about anymore … the Electoral College, it’s about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Donald Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.”
McConnell has refused to call an emergency session of the Senate to hold an impeachment trial before they reconvene on Jan. 19; furthermore, he has not ruled out convicting Trump and reportedly expressed support for Trump’s second impeachment to colleagues.
The Daily Wire recently reported the following:
McConnell told his Republican colleagues that Trump’s actions last week were worthy of impeachment, according to The New York Times, which cited anonymous sources. He is reportedly pleased at the move by Democrats to make Trump the first president in history to be twice impeached, hoping that such action will make it easier for the Republican Party to get rid of him.
The House of Representatives is set to vote Wednesday on one article of impeachment against the president for allegedly “encourage[ing]…imminent lawless action at the Capitol” after a mob of his supporters breached and vandalized the Capitol last week. Trump maintained that the second impeachment push is a continuation of the first, which he described Tuesday as the “greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”
The trial in the Senate will likely begin later this month. President Donald Trump will be the first President of the United States to be impeached twice.
The divisions within the Republican party are vast. Seventy-four million Americans voted for Trump in the November presidential contest, many of whom believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the election was “stolen” from him and that the broader Republican Party failed to fight hard enough on Trump’s behalf.
“I hope the current party dies,” said Jake Ballard, a Trump voter from North Carolina. “Republicans like [Utah Republican Sen.] Mitt Romney seem to despise voters like me just as much as Democrats do. They’re cowards and they don’t represent my interests.”
One faction of the Republican Party comprises evangelical Christian and conservative voters like Ballard, who continue to passionately support Trump and the politicians they feel have remained unflinchingly loyal to him.
Ballard said he felt proud watching thousands of “patriots” answering the president’s call to contest the election result. While he says he regrets the riot at the Capitol, he does not fault Trump and notes the president has since disavowed political violence.
“He may be the only consistent one among us,” Ballard said. “He condemned Black Lives Matter violence this summer from the left, and now he’s condemning it from the right.
While many Republicans continue to rally behind Trump and see him as the natural leader of the party going forward, others are ready to turn the page and believe Trump’s continued prominence as the face of the party would be disastrous.
“I was so embarrassed to watch what happened last week,” Florida resident and veteran Harvey Wasserman told VOA. “If there’s something you want to protest, go ahead, but breaking into Congress is unacceptable and it made a mockery of America in front of the entire world.”
Wasserman voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 but now hopes the president will stay out of politics once he leaves office. “I hope he’ll go to Mar-a-Lago and lock himself inside,” Wasserman said, referring to Trump’s Florida resort. “He embarrassed the Republican Party. Stay there and don’t come out.”
Republican Party Direction
American University political historian Allan Lichtman doubts the president will fade from sight:
“Unless Trump’s in jail, which isn’t impossible at this point,” he said, “then I can’t imagine him going into the good, long night.” Lichtman believes this could spell trouble for the Republican Party as evidenced by the two recent Senate contests in Republican-leaning Georgia, which were won by Democrats. We just saw it in his central role in the Georgia runoffs. He has a tremendous personal following that they can’t afford to lose because of their numbers but can’t afford to keep because appealing to them pushes away independents and centrist Republicans.”
University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock says, whatever Trump’s future role in the party and the nation’s discourse may be, some damage is already done. “I think Trump has made it very hard for Republicans to run in more moderate states and districts,” Bullock told VOA.
“If they renounce the president, he said, they leave themselves open to primary challenges from the pro-Trump wing of the party that would be hard to overcome. But being seen as a Trump ally may cost them in the general election.” Trump loyalist Jake Ballard’s stance illustrates the challenge for Republicans working to hold their party together.
“If the Republican party continues to be ruled by these milquetoast RINOs like Romney, [former Arizona Sen. John] McCain and [Kentucky Sen. Mitch] McConnell, then I’ll skip those elections and just stick to the local ones,” said Ballard. RINO stands for Republican in Name Only – an epithet wielded against those deemed too cozy with Democrats.
Ultimately, this warring and growing factions in the Republican party has Democrats positively giddy in hopes it continues. If the GOP is unified and focused then it is most definitely a threat to the Left and can hopefully keep them in check.
2022 midterms could be a make or break moment for the GOP but, more importantly, the direction of the greatest country to have ever existed: The United States of America.
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