There is no question that former President Donald Trump's presidency and the MAGA (Make America Great Again) movement turned the political world on its head. Hillary Clinton’s loss to the former The Apprentice host will probably go down as the greatest upset in political history. However, the ripple effects – from what seemed the most improbable moment – are still being felt today within the Republican Party, and not necessarily in a good way.
The last 1-term President was George H.W. Bush (R) (although some would contend that his term was closer to Ronald Reagan’s (R) 3rd term). Because of Joe Biden’s (D) victory, it impeded the political trends within D.C. that could arguably be traced to the end of the Carter administration.
It was not surprising when the Democrats took back the House in 2018. It has been a trend for a President’s first midterm election to receive a “shellacking” as President Obama stated in 2010 after the Tea Party movement.
It is apparent, though, that Republicans and their hopes of a “red wave” were misguided. And while it seems that the R’s were set up for massive gains in both chambers of Congress, the fact of the matter is: Biden’s victory messed up the whole ebb and flow that has been reoccurring since the early 80s (or since ‘92, depending upon how you look at it).
Perhaps due to the abrupt end to the Trump presidency, Republicans were caught off guard. It appeared voters were still critiquing the environment that President Trump produced and not President Biden’s job performance. And what do quarterbacks have to do when they are caught off guard due to incoming pressure from the defense? They must scramble. And that is what is occurring within the Republican party.
A few days ago, Donald Trump Jr. got onto Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) for wanting to challenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for the newly acquired speakership, calling it “a dream come true” for Democrats.
So in their quest to “own the establishment” by stopping Kevin McCarthy, Andy Biggs and others are actually in effect empowering those who impeached Donald Trump. This is a Democrat dream come true for a GOP Congress.
Genius move guys. https://t.co/SKQ0Kjl6GC
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 3, 2022
“So in their quest to “own the establishment” by stopping Kevin McCarthy, Andy Biggs and others are actually in effect empowering those who impeached Donald Trump. This is a Democrat dream come true for a GOP Congress. Genius move guys,” tweeted Trump Jr.
Rep. Biggs fired back with this:
The McCarthy machine is furthering unrealistic nightmare scenarios to convince the America First movement to stand down.
We won’t stand down.
I cannot in good faith empower Mr. McCarthy as he has failed to protect President Trump and America First candidates in the midterms. https://t.co/9iEUdkn24G
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 3, 2022
“The McCarthy machine is furthering unrealistic nightmare scenarios to convince the America First movement to stand down. We won’t stand down. I cannot in good faith empower Mr. McCarthy as he has failed to protect President Trump and America First candidates in the midterms,” tweeted Biggs.
Recently, Republican members like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Biggs have been critical of the McCarthy leadership. “We need a leader with credibility across every spectrum of the Republican Conference, and that person is not Kevin McCarthy,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Even Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in 2017 had his doubts about Republican leadership while in Congress.
“Part of the frustration that I have had, the House and Republican rule has not been as effective as it needs to be in doing oversight,” said Rep. DeSantis at the time.
"I mean, you remember the Clinton Foundation? When that scandal broke, we were barred from the leadership from doing one hearing, one subpoena, and nothing in the congress about the Clinton Foundation. You had all this money going into the foundation from foreign governments, you had money going to Bill Clinton from foreign governments, you had Hillary taking action as Secretary of State," said DeSantis.
However, the Republican “scramble” is demonstrated by Biggs’s present argument: McCarthy isn’t pushing the America First agenda, but at the same time, Trump’s own son supports McCarthy.
Assuming President Trump and Trump Jr. hold the same view about McCarthy and what his role should be as a Republican leader, the GOP is split in terms of how to advance the Trump agenda.