No Coincidence Trump Replaced McCarthy With MAGA Mike
This morning, Burgess Everett, Olivia Beavers and Meridith McGraw put together a report about how Capitol Hill Republicans are bracing themselves— “steeling themselves”-- for Trump’s self-serving, reality-adverse interference in the daily life of government, and the questions from the media that will ensue. Good example: Trump’s sketchy, details-free announcement that he will replace ObamaCare with something better. “Something better?” Republicans in Congress have no idea what he’s talking about. The trio of reporters wrote that some of them are “distancing themselves and downplaying his remarks.”
The retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who voted to convict Trump at two impeachment trials, put it more bluntly. He recalled meeting with a health secretary during Trump’s administration to delve into the president’s policies: “They had nothing. No proposal, no outlines, no principles.”
“He says a lot of stuff that he has no intention of actually doing,” Romney said of Trump. “At some point, you stop getting worried about what he says and recognize: We’ll see what he does.”
Trump is paying little heed to how Republicans on Capitol Hill are reacting to his candidacy or plans for a second term. While only 13 of the 49 Republican senators have endorsed Trump, he has racked up over 80 House GOP endorsements and the list is expected to grow. In a statement, Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said the former president’s “second term will be one for the ages” and attacked Biden.
Even for those who liked Trump’s policies during his term, his related slew of controversies is an inescapable part of the deal.
“We have a lot of people on our side that utilize Donald Trump for their political benefit,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) said, people who “get really tired of answering questions about Donald Trump. And I don’t think that’s fair to the president. You don’t get the good without ... the whole package.”
…In the House, Republicans’ future is more deeply intertwined with the vacillations of the mercurial ex-president. And many of Trump’s House GOP critics don’t even want to entertain the idea of trying to govern alongside him; in interviews, some simply shook their heads and furrowed their brows in feigned fatigue.
“Shit, yeah,” Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) replied when asked whether his colleagues are worried about clashing with Trump. “The orange Jesus?” he added with a laugh.
…Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) said plenty in the GOP dread Trump’s return to the political spotlight but “everybody is being more private about it.”
“I wouldn’t expect him to be different,” Simpson said, adding that many colleagues worry about “four years of revenge … we just have to wait and see.”
But Republicans don’t have to wait for Trump to get back into office to experience the effect of his authoritarian control over their party. His demands have given them a new extremist— and compliant— speaker, dubbed “MAGA Mike” by Trump, so is doing nothing but serving the Trump campaign’s congressional agenda: chaos, dysfunction, a post-Xmas government shutdown, impeachments… and, most dangerously, handing Ukraine over to Russia.
The Putin wing of the GOP— AKA (ironically): MAGA— is determined to shut down aid to Ukraine… and they seem to be about the reach their goal. It’s not just ranting lunatics like Marjorie Traitor Greene any longer. Now they have a Speaker— albeit with more finesse and less bombast— serving Putin as well. MAGA Mike told Senate negotiators that there will be no aid to Ukraine unless it is coupled with the GOP’s xenophobic, Know Nothing immigration plan, something most Democrats won’t support. Putin, Trump and the House Republicans want to see Ukraine kneecapped on the battlefield so that they accede to Russia’s draconian demands.
This morning James Politi reported that if Congress doesn’t approve the support requested by the White House, the U.S. will run out of funds to continue aiding Ukraine. What Politi didn’t report is that that is exactly what Trump and his GOP allies want to happen.
Today, White House budget director Shalanda Young, sent McConnell, Schumer, MAGA Mike and Hakeem Jeffries a letter with very specific assessments of “Washington’s waning financial and military support for Ukraine... ‘Without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks. There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money— and nearly out of time,” she said.’” Anyone have any doubt that MAGA Mike sent it to the Trump campaign which in return made sure it went right to the Kremlin?
“Biden’s request for $106 billion in emergency funding for his biggest foreign policy priorities, including Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific,” wrote Politi, “remains mired in stalemate on Capitol Hill, driven by mounting Republican opposition to helping Kyiv. Some lawmakers— especially in the Senate, where backing for Ukraine runs deeper— are trying to negotiate a bipartisan deal that would contain aid for Kyiv alongside new immigration and asylum procedures to reduce the number of undocumented people arriving in the US through its southern border. Even if an agreement is reached in the Senate, however, it is unclear if it can pass the Republican-led House, whose new speaker Mike Johnson has been sceptical of funding for Ukraine.”
The White House warning comes as EU member states are struggling to reach a budget deal in Brussels that would send €50 billion to Ukraine, people close to the discussions told the Financial Times.
Young said Ukraine also needed economic support, which is in danger of stalling.
“If Ukraine’s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting, full stop,” she wrote. “Putin understands this well, which is why Russia has made destroying Ukraine’s economy central to its strategy— which you can see in its attacks against Ukraine’s grain exports and energy infrastructure,” she added.