Is Federico "Freddie" Klein a member of BLM? No? How about antifa? Is he an antifa poobah from Portland? A socialist from the Bronx (like my grandfather was)? Not that either. Turns out Klein-- no relation, thank God-- is a hard core far-right Virginia Republican (former George Allen employee), a Trumpist goon who worked in the 2016 campaign and was subsequently appointed by Señor Trumpanzee to a State Department job. He was arrested yesterday for taking part in storming the Capitol on 1/6. He's the first person inside the Regime to be arrested for taking part in the attempted coup.
McCarthy and other GOP congressional leaders are trying to keep Trump from starting an internal party civil war between the conservatives and the fascists. McCarthy is failing... badly. This morning, Politico reported that McCarthy has been unable to persuade Trump to not seek revenge against 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him-- "members who could be critical to McCarthy’s bid to retake the House and become speaker." Instead Trump has repeatedly vowed to destroy each of their careers and has been actively recruiting and endorsing candidates against them, often Nazi types who will do well in Republicans primaries but who will have a hard times in general elections. Not every Republican-held district is ready for a Marjorie Taylor Greene or a Mad Cawthorn or Lauren Boebert. But Trump's political operation isn't taking that into account.
TX-06-- where incumbent Ron Wright died of COVID and will be replaced in a May 1 jungle primary special election and a May 24 run-off-- is pretty red on paper (R+9) but Trump only beat Biden with a bare 50.8% of the vote. Wright was reelected 179,507 (52.8%) to 149,530 (44.0%), not necessarily an insurmountable gap.
Wednesday was the filing deadline and there was a huge surprise for the dozen GOP competitors at the last moment. A few days earlier Trumpist goon and all around fascist Katrina Pierson withdrew from the race, clearly at the behest of the Trump operation. But no one knew why. Late last night Ally Mutnick connected the dots: "Just moments before the filing deadline Wednesday, a 6-foot-7-inch former pro wrestler from Las Vegas unexpectedly appeared at the Texas secretary of state’s office to file for a vacant congressional seat. He said Ted Cruz and the Trump family sent him. That candidate, Dan Rodimer, is sending shock waves through the race... Rodimer initially tried to file to run on Wednesday afternoon in Fort Worth. When he realized he needed to file in Austin, which is several hours away with traffic, he chartered a plane to take him there. He told people he was encouraged to come to Texas to file for the seat by members of Trump's entourage and that he had come from Mar-a-Lago and would be returning there after, according to people familiar with his exchanges. He said Cruz 'wanted to see him in Congress,' as well, according to those observers."
Last November, Rodimer was the Trumpist candidate against Susie Lee in the competitive (R+2) Vegas area district held by weak New Dem Susie Lee. Lee defeated Rodimer-- a violent criminal known for beating up women-- 203,421 (48.8%) to 190,975 (45.8%). Trump had won the district in 2016 by one point and then lost it to Biden 49.2% to 49.0%.
The GOP establishment in TX-06 has rallied around Wright's widow, Susan, a Republican Party activist, although there are two other viable Republican contenders running: state Rep Jake Ellzey and for Trump Regime HHS official Brian Harrison. Though Rodimer claims he once owned a home in Galveston (on the other side of the state), to this day he's never set foot in TX-06.
Mutnick wrote that Republicans say they feel sure they will hold this suburban district, "but there is some potential for it to become competitive. Though the district has a lot of GOP DNA, it has been trending toward Democrats since 2016. Mitt Romney carried it by 17 points in 2012, but Trump won it by just 3 points in 2020. A few potentially strong Democrats candidates filed for the seat, including educator Shawn Lassiter and Lydia Bean, the 2020 Democratic nominee for a state House seat."
This morning, also in Politico, Melanie Zanona and Olivia Beavers wrote about how the GOP is trying to grapple with the extremists in the party. They noted that 2 days after Liz Cheney urged her colleagues to disassociate themselves from white nationalism, Trumpist fave Paul Gosar was the featured speaker at a white nationalist conference in Orlando, underscoring "how tough it is for GOP leaders to rein in members who cater to the extreme wings of the party. As Republicans increasingly grapple with how-- or even whether-- to exorcise the most radical elements from their party, their leaders’ jobs won’t get any easier... [S]ome fear that if the [House GOP] conference-- which just ushered in a historically diverse freshman class-- doesn’t stomp out those political brush fires now, there’s a risk they will spread and engulf the party. Democrats are already trying to make QAnon, the far-reaching conspiracy theory labeled as a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI, the face of the GOP ahead of the midterms." McCarthy has been silent about Gosar's embrace of racist and fascist groups and of his participation in planning the violent Trumpist coup in January.
“I think the organization that [Gosar] spoke to is one that has expressed views that are clearly racist … This is not the kind of an organization or an event that other members of Congress should be participating in,” said Cheney, the House GOP Conference chair who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.
“I've been very clear about the extent to which we have to stand against white supremacists, stand against anti-Semitism,” added Cheney. “And that should not be part of our public discourse.”
...Other Republicans privately said they were disturbed by Gosar’s appearance at the white nationalist conference and are concerned that it tacitly signals the embrace of extremist groups that have no place in the GOP. Only some were publicly willing to call out Gosar's attendance at the event.
“From what I understand of what AFPAC is and what it stands for, it is unbecoming of a member of Congress to speak or attend the conference,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), the head of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the House GOP conference.
The episode comes as most Republicans also voted, but failed, to keep freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) in her committee assignments after she circulated conspiracy theories and endorsed social media posts calling for violence against Democrats.
Now, Republicans are questioning whether the embrace of far-right groups by federal lawmakers is giving power to organizations that had previously been stifled on the national stage.
“It's always been lurking in the shadows. And then they have a convention. ... It is completely nuts,” one GOP lawmaker said of the AFPAC event, where organizer Nick Fuentes called for protection of “the white demographic core” and pushed other racist rhetoric.
“It's really disgusting, nefarious stuff," this Republican lawmaker added. "And this is the stuff you have to just actively beat back.”
The GOP’s rightward drift toward extremism has been years in the making, but the violent insurrection on Jan. 6-- when white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and QAnon believers stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s win-- has only amplified a bitter internal debate about the direction of the party.