Republicans’ latest litmus test has the PA-Gov candidates stuck between the MAGA base and historic progress — and Donald Trump’s threats are loud and clear: “I love all the House Republicans. Well, actually I don’t love all of you. I don’t love the 13 that voted for Biden’s infrastructure plan.”
PENNSYLVANIA — Republicans’ latest “purity test,” according to The Washington Post, is putting the far-right PA-Gov candidates in a tough spot, stuck between supporting President Biden’s historic infrastructure package and Donald Trump’s threats. So far, all of the Republican gubernatorial candidates have been silent on this historic infrastructure package, despite its major benefits to Pennsylvania families, apparently scared into silence by threats from Trump and far-right members of Congress like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn.
The Republican candidates in the “Super MAGA” primary have been fighting among themselves to prove their loyalty to Trump, embracing one litmus test after another, from endorsing a Texas-style abortion ban to championing the Big Lie. The Washington Post summarized the latest feud that’s engulfed the GOP, writing, “Right-wing House Republicans enthralled by former president Donald Trump want to purge 13 of their GOP colleagues for the crime of voting for President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law.”
“The far-right PA-Gov candidates are terrified of facing the wrath of Donald Trump and his MAGA base so they’re once again showing Pennsylvanians that they’ll put Trump ahead of our Commonwealth’s future,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Marisa Nahem. “President Biden’s historic infrastructure package will bring billions of dollars to Pennsylvania and improve the lives of families from Philadelphia to Erie — it’s time the GOP candidates for Governor share whether they support this bipartisan legislation or Donald Trump.”
By Olivier Knox, 11/10/2021
Right-wing House Republicans enthralled by former president Donald Trump want to purge 13 of their GOP colleagues for the crime of voting for President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law — and siding with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in the process.
Alternately, those House Republicans, with Trump raging supportively from the sidelines, are looking to punish colleagues for giving Biden a much-needed policy and political victory. The law is something for Democrats to sell to voters as the country heads into a midterm elections cycle in which — history says — the president’s party can expect a drubbing.
Welcome to the latest Republican purity test of 2021. Once again, House Republican leaders must decide how to balance protecting their members against a desire to wring every political advantage possible from the volatile former president’s profound intraparty popularity.
Trump himself locked on to the question of even limited GOP cooperation with Biden months ago — on July 26, with the first of nine statements through Tuesday night denouncing any Republicans who went along with the president’s $1.2 trillion package.
They’re “weak fools and losers!” (July 26). Led by “SUPER RINO [Republican in name only] Mitt Romney” (July 28). They’re “desperate to push bad, Radical Leftist policies?” (July 30). “If Mitch McConnell was smart, which we’ve seen no evidence of …” (Aug. 7). The bill is “what’s best for the Communist Democrat Party” (Aug. 8). And “Mitch McConnell is the most overrated man in politics—now I don’t have to be quiet anymore” (Aug 10).
There’s more! “All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves, in particular Mitch McConnell” (Nov. 7). “Old Crow Mitch McConnell voted for a terrible Democrat Socialist Infrastructure Plan” (Nov. 9).
My colleagues Marianna Sotomayor, Paul Kane and Josh Dawsey reported Tuesday night that Trump also complained about the 13 House GOP yes votes “at a private event hosted by the House Republican campaign arm Monday night in Florida.”
“‘I love all the House Republicans. Well, actually I don’t love all of you. I don’t love the 13 that voted for Biden’s infrastructure plan,’ Trump said, according to the recollection of a person who attended the event and spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private gathering.”[…]
The belief that large investments to shore up the nation’s infrastructure, including in conservative, rural areas that vote for Trump, are “the right thing to do” is not widely shared among House Republicans, to put it mildly. At least when there’s a Democratic president.[…]
Marianna, Paul and Josh also reported how “[f]ormer Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in an interview on Stephen K. Bannon’s ‘War Room’ podcast Tuesday that all 13 members should ‘absolutely’ be stripped of their committee assignments by House leadership in the coming days.”
That would require McCarthy to go after lawmakers who are the top Republican members on committees or subcommittees. Of the 13, a majority hold that distinction, which often reflects seniority, expertise, or the trust of party leadership.
For some of the 13 Republicans, any punishment would be short-lived. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio) aren’t seeking reelection. One, Rep. David B. McKinley (W.Va.) could have to face a fellow Republican because his state is losing a seat in reapportionment.
The more far-reaching effects may be felt by House GOP leaders, who in recent decades have watched intraparty coups topple their predecessors.[…]