Some Republicans start shying away from Trump E! News UK

NEW YORK (AP) – President Donald Trump’s steadfast grip on Republicans in Washington is starting to crumble, leaving him more politically isolated than at any time during his turbulent administration.

After shaking a crowd that then staged a violent siege on the U.S. Capitol, Trump appears to have lost some of his most powerful allies, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Two cabinet members and at least half a dozen aides have resigned. A handful of Republicans in Congress are openly considering joining a new impeachment campaign.

A GOP senator who split from Trump in the past called on her to step down and wondered if she would stay in the party.

“I want him out,” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told The Anchorage Daily News. “He’s done enough damage. “

The insurgency that followed a deadly election defeat in Georgia did what other weak spots in Trump’s presidency failed to do: force Republicans to fundamentally reassess their relationship with a leader who has long abandoned tradition and decorum. The result could reshape the party, threatening the influence Trump aspires to while creating a wedge between those in Washington and activists in parts of the country where the president is particularly popular.

“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. “I will not defend him for stirring the pot that incited the crowd. He is alone.

When the week began, Trump was arguably the most dominant political force in Republican politics and a kingmaker for 2024, if not the next GOP presidential candidate himself. On Friday, there was a growing sense that he was forever tarnished – and that he may be forced to step down before his term expires in 12 days.

With no resignation, calls for a second arraignment on Capitol Hill intensified on Friday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Congress will initiate impeachment proceedings unless Trump steps down “imminently and voluntarily.”

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President-elect Joe Biden is not yet putting his weight behind the effort, suggesting that there is not enough time between now and his inauguration on January 20 to pursue impeachment or any other constitutional challenge.

“I’m focusing now, on us taking control as president and vice president on the 20th and getting our agenda moving as quickly as possible,” Biden told reporters.

Trump still has supporters, especially among the many rank-and-file Republican voters and conservative activists beyond Washington.

Thursday morning there was loud applause and cries of “We love you! When Trump phoned to a Republican National Committee breakfast in Florida.

“The vast majority of the committee are in denial,” said Republican National Committee member Bill Palatucci of New Jersey, who attended the breakfast. “They are prepared to condemn the violence, but without any reference to the role of the president in any of these situations. “

The president insists he did nothing wrong. He continues to tell his staff, at least in private, that the election was stolen from him. Republican officials in critical battlefield states, its recently deceased attorney general and a series of judges – including those appointed by Trump – have dismissed the claims as baseless.

Trump must have been persuaded to record the video released Thursday night in which he finally condemned the rioters and admitted his November defeat for the first time, while initially brushing aside the prospect of speaking negatively about “my people.”

He eventually agreed to record the video after White House attorney Pat Cipollone warned he could be in danger for inciting the riot. Others, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and his daughter Ivanka Trump, have urged Trump to send a message that could stifle talks about his forced removal from office, either through impeachment or through constitutional proceedings outlined in the 25th amendment.

And while Trump acknowledged in the video that a new administration would take over on January 20, he also said on Friday that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration. This makes Trump the first incumbent president since Andrew Johnson 152 years ago not to take the oath of his successor.

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Trump has no intention of disappearing from the political debate once he leaves office, according to aides who believe he remains extremely popular among the Republican base.

Lest there be any doubt, Trump’s misrepresentation of voter fraud in his November loss resonated with hundreds of thousands of Republican voters in Georgia’s second round of Senate elections this week. . About 7 in 10 agreed with his false claim that Biden was not the legitimately elected president, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 3,700 voters.

Senior Republican pollster Frank Luntz has had lengthy conversations with grassroots voters and Republican officials about Trump’s stance from headquarters.

“The pros are running away from a sinking ship, but his own supporters haven’t given up on him, and they actually want him to keep fighting,” Luntz said. “He has become the voice of God to tens of millions of people, and they will follow him to the ends of the earth and the cliff.

And because of the continued loyalty of voters, elected officials in deep red regions must also remain loyal to the outgoing president, even if his own cabinet does not. In the hours following this week’s riot, 147 Republicans in Congress again voted to reject Biden’s victory, including eight senators.

The dramatic division of the party is reflected in the divergent paths adopted by the first list of the 2024 Republican presidential outlook.

Senses Josh Hawley, of Missouri, and Ted Cruz, of Texas, accepted Trump’s calls to reject Biden’s victory before and after the mob attack. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton resisted Trump’s wishes, drawing an angry tweet from the president earlier in the week.

Such attacks did not carry as much weight at the end of the week as they once did given Trump’s weakened political state. On Thursday, Cotton rebuked Republican colleagues like Hawley and Cruz, who had given voters a “false hope” that Trump’s loss in November could be undone.

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Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, tried to follow the line by condemning Trump’s actions this week in a closed-door meeting with the Republican National Committee.

She praised some of Trump’s accomplishments, but predicted that “his actions since Election Day will be harshly judged by history.”

Meanwhile, there is no clear path for the Republican Party without Trump. Speaking to reporters on Friday, even Biden raised concerns about the health of the GOP.

“We need a Republican Party,” Biden said, noting that he had spoken with Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a top critic of Trump. “We need a strong, principled opposition.

Meanwhile, Trump has charted ways to retain his political influence once he moves from the White House to his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, later in the month.

Believing his supporters will stick with him no matter what, he continued to discuss the main encouraging challenges against Republicans who were not loyal enough to him. And he has hinted publicly and privately that he would likely challenge Biden in a rematch in 2024, though the loss of his powerful Twitter account – which used or used xenophobia to slander a country permanently shut down by society on Friday. – could complicate his efforts to rule the Republican Party out of fear.

Doug Deason, a Texas-based donor who served on the Trump campaign’s finance committee, said this week’s events did nothing to undermine his confidence in the Republican president.

“He was the best president of my life, including Reagan,” Deason said.

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Associated Press editors Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, and Darlene Superville in Wilmington, Delaware contributed to this report.

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