The presidency of Donald Trump is part of the past, but Trump himself is key to the Republican Party’s future.
And to Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican leaders who don’t realize that now are courting “disaster” for the GOP in elections to come — for their party, and for themselves.
In a Fox News interview hours after President Joe Biden was sworn in as the country’s 46th chief executive, the South Carolina Republican fielded questions about Trump’s future role in the party. And his answers were definitely not what Trump haters wanted to hear.
Asked by Fox News’ Martha MacCallum about factions of the GOP that would like to “erase” Trump from the party, Graham was uncompromising.
“If you’re a conservative, this has been a good four years for judges, for rebuilding the military, for bringing order to the border. For historic peace agreements in the Mideast. This has been a consequential presidency — three Supreme Court justices,” Graham said.
“I hope President Trump understands that his legacy and his best future lies with the Republican Party. I hope people in our party understand the party itself.”
Then he got to the hard fact:
“If you’re wanting to erase Donald Trump from the party, you’re gonna get erased,” Graham said.
Check it out here. The Trump-specific part of the interview starts at about the 3:20 mark.
“Most Republicans like his policies. A lot of Republicans like his style. A lot of people are disappointed with him personally at times, but appreciate the outcomes he’s achieved for our country,” he said.
“So this idea of moving forward without Donald Trump in the Republican Party is a disaster for the Republican Party.
“The one way Democrats can survive is for the Republican Party to crack up,” Graham explained succinctly. “The best way for the Republican Party to crack up is try to move forward without Donald Trump.”
In the current hysteria over the Capitol incursion, that isn’t a message the mainstream media wants Republicans and conservatives to be internalizing right now. It isn’t a message Democrats or anti-Trump Republicans want the GOP to be getting.
But it’s a fact of American politics that’s going to be pivotal in the next two years, as both sides gear up for midterm elections that will shape the future of the Biden presidency.
There are millions of Americans who will never believe Biden’s election was legitimate – because they could see with their own eyes how a hideously biased mainstream media targeted the Trump White House with a relentless stream of propaganda aimed at electing his opponent.
They could see how the liberal lords of social media blatantly censored news American voters had every right to know about the Democratic nominee for president. And they know just how good the chances would be that Trump would have been sworn in on Wednesday, that he would almost certainly have won the election, on anything remotely resembling a level playing field.
Those millions of Americans might not ever consider joining a mob like the one that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, but they’re fully capable of voting to support a party that stands by the candidate they think should be in the White House today.
Democrats might never acknowledge it publicly, but they know it. The whole point of the latest impeachment sham is to try to make sure Trump himself can never run for office again.
Republicans know it too, everywhere outside Washington, where a benighted band led by Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming actually supported Trump’s impeachment under conditions that would make a banana republic blush.
“They impeached the president in 24 hours. Without a lawyer and without one witness. Is that what we’re going to become as a country?” Graham said, at about the 6:30 mark in the video above. “I hope not.”
It’s not the kind of party Republicans will need to be to return to power either, Graham said.
“If this party is going to survive, we’ve got to realize Donald Trump had a consequential presidency for conservatives. That he’s gonna be the strongest voice in the party. I realize that, and I appreciate that,” Graham said.
“And the test for President Trump is, will he help us in 2022 take back the House and Senate? Because without his help, we cannot take back the House and the Senate.
“With his help, I think we can.”
That’s the goal Republicans need to keep in mind. It’s the goal even conservatives who don’t like Trump need to understand.
Trump’s presidency might be in the past, but the party’s future — and the country’s future — is very much in play.
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