Former President Donald J. Trump has a rabid fanbase, largely predicated on the perception that he, unlike any other elected Republican, will fight for the Right, no matter what. In the 2016 campaign, that was certainly true.
Throughout his presidency, let’s face it, he governed like a fairly typical Republican president – more tax cuts, Mideast wars, and no border wall. Nevertheless, perception is power in modern politics.
Yet, the recent removal of obsequious Trump ally, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), by another Trump crony, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), shows just how weak the former president is. Here is an instance where the inmates overran the asylum and made everyone nuts.
McCarthy had agreed to be made Speaker after a contentious, multi-round vote back in January.
Part of the agreement that he made with the likes of Rep. Gaetz and others was to basically make his speakership hostage to Gaetz and a handful of other lunatic backbenchers in the House Republican caucus.
You Never the Kill Hostage Before You Get Paid, Gaetz!
In fact, McCarthy was doing what he could to push favorable legislation through, while contending not only with a raucous caucus of eight hardliners but also with the fact that he had a narrow (just four seats) majority in the House.
What’s more, McCarthy fully understood that he had a hostile Senate and a White House that was controlled by the Democrats.
Plus, McCarthy was the most pliant speaker that the hardliners on the Right would ever get.
Furthermore, McCarthy was allied with former President Trump. It was Trump who had originally argued against Gaetz’s quixotic resistance to McCarthy’s nomination as speaker in January.
Trump understood the benefit of having a malleable speaker in the House of Representatives.
When Gaetz initiated his insane push against McCarthy earlier this week, contrary to what Gaetz claimed after the fact, Trump pleaded with Gaetz not to remove McCarthy—just as the forty-fifth president had pleaded with Gaetz not to oppose McCarthy’s original ascension to the third most powerful office in the federal government nine months ago.
Matt Gaetz, a man who is largely seen as an unshakeable ally of Donald Trump, betrayed his political mentor and, in the process, made the GOP weaker.
An astonishing 96 percent of House Republicans—including people like my congressman, Byron Donalds (R-FL), who hilariously put himself forward nine months ago as an alternative to McCarthy as speaker during Gaetz’s first challenge to McCarthy—opposed McCarthy’s ouster. That meant that Gaetz had to switch sides and get the majority of House Democrats to sign on to his quixotic cause.
Of course, the Democrats, looking to paint the Republicans as the party of chaos (and to cover up for the illegal actions of New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman), unanimously joined Gaetz to remove McCarthy, and send both the House GOP and the House of Representatives into chaos.
Not only did Gaetz betray the former president, with whom so many “MAGA”-type voters believe Gaetz stands, but he then lied about Trump supporting his actions. Within one day of Gaetz making the absurd comments about Trump’s support, the former president categorically denied that he ever supported Gaetz’s short-sighted, unpopular actions against the pliable Trump ally, Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
The likely successor to McCarthy is the no-nonsense Louisianan, Rep. Steve Scalise (who currently serves as the GOP whip). Trump is unlikely to have as easy of a time influencing the House GOP under a possible Speaker Scalise the way that he did with McCarthy.
Gaetz is a Backstabber
This isn’t the first time that Rep. Gaetz has betrayed Trump’s trust.
Always looking for the next big politician to latch onto and engorge himself on, the purported consummate Trump ally refused to stand at Trump’s side the night that the forty-fifth president made his campaign announcement to run in the 2024 Election.
The reason that Gaetz gave for not attending?
According to Congressman Gaetz’s office, inclement weather at Reagan National Airport precluded any flights from taking off there. Of course, there’s another major airport in the Washington, D.C. metro area: Dulles International (and even nearby Baltimore has BWI).
More importantly, though, a cursory check of weather reports from the night of Trump’s announcement shows no major weather incidents and no significant ground stops at any of the area’s major airports. Gaetz could have gone but chose not to.
That’s because the GOP had just been shellacked in the 2022 Midterms, a race that they were slated to win in a landslide—and most of the Republicans who lost were the ones that Trump personally backed. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis was surging in the polls for the 2024 Election, partly because of this perceived Trump loss.
So, Gaetz, ever the reptilian, was distancing himself from Trump … until Trump started doing better in the polls.
Trump is Weak
Gaetz’s undermining of Trump’s wishes as well as lying about Trump’s support for Gaetz’s unpopular actions does the one thing Trump cannot stand to be seen as: weak.
If Trump cannot even control Matt Gaetz, how can he possibly expect to beat the Democrats and run the country for another four years?
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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