Former President Trump is warning Republicans that any effort from Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster would cause “catastrophic” damage to the party.
“Look, he’s hanging by a thread right now with respect to the filibuster,” Trump said, discussing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) attempts to stave off any changes to eliminate the longstanding filibuster rule during an hour-long interview with Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe new podcast “The Truth with Lisa Boothe.”
“And if they get the fili — he’s hanging on Joe Manchin, who always goes with the Democrats. Joe talks, but he ends up going with the Democrats. Now there’s another great senator from the state of Arizona. He’s hanging by a thread and if they get rid of the filibuster, if they knock it out, it will be catastrophic for the Republican Party. And now, they knock out the filibuster, it’s going to be a real problem… they’re going to have a free for all,” Trump added.
The filibuster, which makes most legislation in the Senate subject to a 60-vote threshold, is a procedure used to delay or block legislative action the minority party mostly opposes. Currently, 60 votes are needed in the Senate to end debate and pass legislation, and the measure is meant to protect the interests of the minority party, which is currently the GOP. Eliminating the filibuster and moving to a simple majority requirement in the Senate would significantly limit the Republican party’s key power in stymying President Biden’s liberal agenda in the narrowly divided Senate.
Biden in an interview with ABC last Wednesday said he supports some reforms to the Senate’s filibuster rule, the first time he has publicly endorsed any efforts of changes, despite his White House maintaining for weeks that the president opposes eliminating the filibuster altogether.
“Yes, but here’s the choice: I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster — you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, saying he wants to “bringing back the talking filibuster.”
“You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking,” Biden added. “Once you stopped talking, you lost that and someone could move in and say, I move to the question of. You’ve got to work for the filibuster. It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning.”
In 2018, Trump warned GOP in a meeting to kill the filibuster now before Schumer does it when he takes over. The former president shared a message from a mutual friend that he and Schumer both know, who heard from the New York Democrat that said once Democrats took over the chamber, they plan on getting rid of the legislative filibuster. At the same meeting, Trump told GOP lawmakers that keeping the filibuster in place could mean “the end of the party.”
“And I told Mitch McConnell from almost the first day, I said, look, the first thing they’re going to do is knock out the filibuster. So if they’re going to knock it out, maybe we should and get everything that we want,” Trump recalled of the 2018 meeting during the podcast interview.
McConnell last Tuesday warned Democrats if they removing the filibuster, it would “break the Senate” and turn the chamber into a “100-car pileup” where chaos reigns, vowing retaliation once Republicans take back the majority to “erase every liberal change that hurt the country,” and place “all kinds of conservative policies with zero, zero input from the other side.”
“Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” McConnell warned from the Senate floor. “This chaos would not open up an express lane to liberal change. It would not open up an express lane for the Biden presidency to speed into the history books. This pendulum would swing both ways — hard.”
During the podcast interview, Trump increased his attacks on the GOP leader, calling McConnell “weak,” arguing that the party needs “better leadership” in order to “rein in” senators who have crossed the former president in the past, such as Sens. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE).
“I mean, he can’t rein in his own people. We have the Mitt Romneys of the world and, you know, the Ben Sasses of the world. These are not good for the Republican Party,” Trump said.
“But if you look at what happened in the election, Mitch McConnell should’ve fought. You know, he did nothing. He should’ve fought. They should’ve fought. That could never have, that could never have happened to a Democrat,” Trump added.
Trump also told Boothe that he doesn’t want to talk to McConnell.
“What happened to us with the presidential election could never have happened to the Democrats. You would have had a revolution if the tables were turned, you would have literally had a revolution. And guys like Mitch McConnell, they don’t fight. And now he’s hanging by a thread. He’s hanging by a thread.”