While Dems Fight COVID, Republicans Fight Themselves

April 30, 2021
The Hill: Trump drama divides GOP, muddling message

Congressional Republicans are learning the hard way that it's difficult to make a persuasive case to the American people while blocking efforts to combat COVID-19 and get Americans back in jobs. 

The American people want vaccines in arms, money in pockets, people back in in jobs, and kids in schools – what they’re getting from the American Rescue Plan – but, as the latest reporting shows, all the GOP has to offer is "drama."  While the friendly fire between McCarthy and Cheney and the ongoing feud between McConnell and Trump provide fodder for the press, they are not helping the American people, or the Republican party.  And, unfortunately for Republicans, "it seems unlikely the GOP fighting will end."

Key Points From The Hill’s Reporting

Trump drama divides GOP, muddling message

Jordain Carney

  • GOP drama is complicating what Republicans view as an opportunity to unite their increasingly fractious party[.]
  • [M]uch of the focus all week was on the battling within the GOP — between House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking member of his leadership team, and between former President Trump and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • “I don’t think it’s helpful,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an advisor to McConnell.
  • Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, called keeping GOP infighting from overshadowing more unifying messaging “our daily challenge.” 
  • The latest round of infighting comes as Republicans are already facing big headaches on their political fortunes as they struggle to dent Biden, who many acknowledge they like personally, roughly 100 days into his administration.
  • Trump, even as he’s largely sequestered himself at Mar-A-Lago since he left office, has loomed over the future of the Republican Party. 

Though the former president didn’t attend the House GOP conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, and wasn’t invited to speak, the party’s fight over its post-Trump future was on full display, and caused days of headlines about friction within the caucus.

  • The retreat, billed as a policy pow-wow, instead focused on the divide between McCarthy and Cheney, who are mostly battling over Trump.

Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year, told reporters that she views McCarthy and McConnell, not Trump, as the leaders of the party.

  • Trump quickly hit back at Cheney and McCarthy also took a shot when asked about her remarks.

“I think from a perspective if you're sitting here at a retreat that's focused on policy, focused on the future of making America’s next century, and you're talking about something else, you're not being productive,” he said. 

With Trump seeking to stay in the news cycle and flirting with a presidential bid in 2024, it seems unlikely the GOP fighting will end.