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‘Just move on’: Republicans grapple with post-Trump future

For the primary time in additional than a decade, Republicans are waking as much as a Washington the place Democrats management the White Home and Congress, adjusting to an period of diminished energy, deep uncertainty and inside feuding.

The shift to minority standing is all the time troublesome, prompting debates over who’s accountable for shedding the final election. However the course of is particularly intense as Republicans confront profound questions on what the celebration stands for with out Donald Trump in cost.

During the last 4 years, the GOP’s values have been inexorably tied to the whims of a president who frequently undermined democratic establishments and traded the celebration’s longstanding dedication to fiscal self-discipline, sturdy overseas coverage and the rule of regulation for a brash and inconsistent populism.

The celebration now faces a choice about whether or not to maintain shifting in that path, as a lot of Trump’s most loyal supporters demand, or chart a brand new course.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of many few Republican elected officers who frequently condemned Trumpism, evoked President Ronald Reagan in calling this second “a time for selecting.”

“We’ve got to determine if we’re going to proceed heading down the path of Donald Trump or if we’re going to return to our roots,” Hogan, a possible 2024 White Home contender, mentioned in an interview.

“The celebration can be significantly better off in the event that they have been to purge themselves of Donald Trump,” he added. “However I don’t assume there’s any hope of him fully going away.”

Whether or not the celebration strikes on could come all the way down to what Republicans like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz do subsequent.

Cruz spent weeks parroting Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, which helped incite the lethal riot on the U.S. Capitol. Republican elections officers in a number of battleground states that President Joe Biden carried have mentioned the election was honest.

Trump’s claims have been roundly rejected within the courts, together with by judges appointed by Trump.

Cruz acknowledged Biden’s victory on Wednesday, however he refused to explain it as authentic when pressed.

“He gained the election. He’s the president. I simply got here from his inauguration,” Cruz mentioned of Biden in an interview.

Trying ahead, Cruz mentioned Trump would stay a big a part of the political dialog, however that the Republican Celebration ought to transfer away from divisive “language and tone and rhetoric” that alienated suburban voters, significantly ladies, in latest elections.

“President Trump certainly will proceed to make his views recognized, and so they’ll proceed to have an actual influence, however I believe the nation going ahead desires insurance policies that work, and I believe as a celebration, we have to do a greater job profitable hearts and minds,” mentioned Cruz, who can also be eyeing a White Home run.

Within the wake of the Capitol riot, a small however notable faction of high-profile Republicans are taking a stronger stance towards Trump or distancing themselves from him.

The Senate’s prime Republican, Mitch McConnell, mentioned on the eve of the inauguration that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was “provoked by the president.”

Even Mike Pence, Trump’s vice chairman and lengthy thought-about his most devoted cheerleader, skipped Trump’s departure ceremony to attend Biden’s inauguration.

Trump retreated Wednesday to his south Florida property, the place he has retained a small group of former White Home aides who will work out of a two-story visitor home on the Mar-a-Lago grounds.

Along with advisers in Washington, Trump may have entry to a well-funded political motion committee, the Save America PAC, that’s prone to inherit tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in donations that flooded his marketing campaign coffers after his election loss.

These near Trump imagine he’ll lay low within the quick future as he focuses on his upcoming impeachment trial for inciting the riot. After that, he’s anticipated to reemerge, possible granting media interviews and discovering a brand new dwelling on social media after shedding his highly effective Twitter bullhorn.

Whereas his plans are simply taking form, Trump is anticipated to stay politically energetic, together with attempting to precise revenge by backing main challenges towards Republicans he believed scorned him in his last days. He continues to go away the door open to a different presidential run in 2024.

Some associates imagine he may even flirt with operating as a third-party candidate, which might badly splinter an already fractured GOP.

Trump issued an ominous vow as he left the White Home for the final time as president: “We can be again in some kind.”

Many within the GOP’s die-hard base proceed to advertise conspiracy theories, embrace white nationalism and, above all, revere Trump’s voice as gospel.

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