Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.
The state of the GOP is not good.
INBOX: A statement from the former president of the United States about Karl Rove: pic.twitter.com/9D7pG0JLj7— Darren Samuelsohn (@dsamuelsohn) March 5, 2021
Sources tell Playbook that McCarthy has been trying to persuade Trump not to seek revenge against 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president — members who could be critical to McCarthy’s bid to retake the House and become speaker.
Not only has Trump refused to commit, he has publicly repeated his vow to primary those incumbents.
That’s not all. Trump and his new campaign team are also cracking down on the use of the president’s name for fundraising — a huge draw attracting small-dollar donors. Three sources told us that Trump, who made his fortune licensing his name, has felt burned and “abused” by the GOP bandying about his name to haul in money.
His team has conveyed that any Republican or GOP committee seeking to use it needs explicit approval, according to five sources familiar with the situation. One Trump adviser said they’ve been sending out cease-and-desists to faux PACs using Trump’s name to fundraise, among other demands to knock it off.
In his CPAC speech last weekend, Trump reinforced the point by directing all fundraising to his own campaign entities. He told attendees “there’s only one way” to donate to Trump Republicans: through his own Save America PAC.
That move came around the same time that McCarthy’s own reelection campaign took down a website called Trumps-Majority.com, a landing page for donations that appeared to go live around the time McCarthy met with Trump in Florida. McCarthy’s office said the website, which was used in 2020, went up by mistake. The McCarthy and Trump camps denied that its removal had anything to do with Trump’s concern about how his name is being used.
Still, the situation highlights an awkward two-step between the House GOP (particularly McCarthy) and Trump. They need the ex-president to raise gobs of money from and turn out the base. But any cash collected off the Trump name would also be used to protect some of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him — members like California Rep. DAVID VALADAO, a McCarthy ally who’s in a difficult reelection.
Setting aside Trump’s appetite for revenge against those members, even some House Republicans aren’t even comfortable with McCarthy & Co.’s Trump entreaties. At a private meeting in February, Rep. TOM RICE (R-S.C.), one of the pro-impeachment Republicans, said the conference shouldn’t be using the ex-president at all in its effort to retake the House, according to people in the room.
Caught in the middle is McCarthy, who is notorious for trying to please everybody. McCarthy has made no secret of his belief that the House GOP needs Trump in 2022. But placating a president who doesn’t hear nuance when it comes to his detractors is not going to be easy for “My Kevin.”
SPOTTED: CATALINA LAUF, a pro-Trump Republican primarying Rep. ADAM KINZINGER (R-Ill.) in 2022, at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday evening, in the latest sign that Trump is serious about primarying his House GOP antagonists.