Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed the current Republican party, referring to the party as a “cult” that pledges to former President Donald Trump because they fear having a primary opponent in the upcoming elections.
“It is really troubling to see the Republican Party turn themselves into a cult. And, you know, basically pledge allegiance not to the United States of America but to Donald Trump. Something I do not understand, I cannot accept,” Clinton said in a Washington Post Live interview for International Woman Day.
“I don’t understand why the Republican Party is so afraid of itself, because that’s what it comes down to. They’re afraid that Donald Trump will instigate primary opponents against them, and those primary opponents will demand loyalty to Trump and not to the Republican Party. Not to the United States of America. I think this will eventually burn out. I hope it happens sooner, not later,” Clinton added.
During the half-hour WaPo interview, Clinton spoke at length about Trump’s influence on the Republican Party, saying she hopes the GOP party will “find its soul, will find its center again and understand they can’t keep playing with fire.”
“But I’m hoping, as I said earlier that the Republican Party will find its soul will find its center again and understand they can’t keep playing with fire you know a lot of them thought that they could control Trump they could use him, they could use them to you know take over the Supreme Court, they could use them to recklessly cut taxes, they could do you know what their own agenda was really demanding because he didn’t care about any of it other than his power and his adulation and the role that he played rather than the job that he was supposed to do. So, I hope that the Republican Party catches up with the rest of the country.”
The frequent Trump critic praised Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) for standing up against Trump and fellow members of her party who are allies of the former president, saying that she was “incredibly impressed by her strength and standing up” to vote for his impeachment in the House.
“Cheney was one of the very few Republicans in Congress who did stand up and I give all of them who spoke up, who voted for impeachment, who voted for conviction in the Senate, you know credit for doing what was right,” Clinton said. “I just wish that more Republicans had had either the courage or the understanding of what they needed to do that they too had stood up and spoken out.”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is arguably the most loyal ally to President Trump and the loudest anti-Cheney Republican in the House of Representatives, recently traveled to Rep. Cheney’s home state of Wyoming to rally citizens against her reelection to Congress.
“I’ve been here for about an hour and I feel like I already know the place a lot better than your misguided representative, Liz Cheney,” Gaetz said in his opening remarks. Gaetz also remarked on Twitter that it would be “impossible to stalk Liz Cheney in Wyoming” because “she never leaves Washington.”
Clinton also took a jab at the numerous Republican lawmakers announcing they aren’t seeking a 2022 and plans for retirement, claiming that they “don’t have the stomach anymore to stand up and fight against extremism in their own party.”
“I think you are seeing Republicans retire who are, you know, just not ready to face a primary against a Trump acolyte who don’t have the stomach anymore to stand up and fight against extremism and their own party. And so they’re retiring,” Clinton said. “They’ve done a calculation. They’ve concluded that Trump is the puppet master who pulls the strings of the hardcore base of the Republican Party who dishes out disinformation on social media that really pollutes people’s thinking about where we need to be in the country.”
These comments came just hours after Sen. Roy Blunt from Missouri announced that he would not seek reelection in 2022, becoming the latest prominent Senate Republican to announce retirement.
“After 14 general election victories — three to county office, seven to the United States House of Representatives, and four statewide elections — I won’t be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate next year,” Blunt said in a video announcing his 2022 intention Monday morning.
Blunt is the fifth Republican Senators not to seek reelection in 2022.
Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Richard Shelby (R-AL) have all recently announced that they wouldn’t run for reelection next year. Richard Burr (R-NC) said when he was running for reelection in 2016 pledged that his next term would be his last in the Senate.
Republicans only need to pick up one seat next year to win back the majority. But the GOP will be defending 20 seats on top of keeping the five now open seats, compared to Democrats who have 14 seats to defend, including two seats in states that President Biden won — Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.