Post-Trump, the Republican Party is far from a united front. With the primaries just around the corner, GOP leaders who dared to stand up to Trump after the January 6 insurrection are facing quite a bit of opposition from the former President’s loyalists within the party.
One such GOP leader is Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney. She had said that Republicans who objected to the electoral college results on January 6 should be disqualified, a statement that made her an easy target for Trumps’ Congressional allies.
At the special election in Texas’ 6th Congressional District, many of the 11 Republicans running openly supported Trump. The story at the Utah Republican Party’s organizing convention was quite different. GOP delegates present at the convention openly booed Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who had voted to convict Trump in both his impeachment trials. Undeterred, Romney reminded the audience that he was a person “who says what he thinks”. He also reminded delegates that he was a Republican Presidential candidate and had a long history of loyalty to the party and its interests.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins is another Republican who has made her position on Trumpism quite clear. After the January 6 insurrection, she was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump. After the Utah convention, she told reporters that she didn’t think the Republican Party could be led by “just one person” but should embrace a variety of viewpoints and approaches to governance.
GOP leaders who oppose Trump and decry Trumpism are the outliers in a deeply fractured party. Even though Trump’s approval sank after the insurrection on January 6, the treatment of Romney and Cheney shows that he still casts a formidable shadow on the direction and shape of the Republican party as the country braces for the 2022 midterms.