The divide between the two wings of the Republican Party was as evident as ever at a party policy retreat held in Florida.

As House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy emphasizes the need for the GOP to be united, the division between McCarthy himself and GOP Chair Rep. Liz Cheney will not be an incentive for others with differing visions of the future of the party to come together for 2022.

According to a report from Politico, while former President Trump was not at the policy retreat, his presence was very much felt in the rift between the anti-Trump Cheney and McCarthy’s calls for unity.

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McCarthy’s Frustration Comes Through

In an interview with Politico, McCarthy was asked about bringing the party together while Cheney – the third-ranking Republican in the House – continues to attack an extremely popular Trump.

McCarthy said, “There’s a responsibility, if you’re gonna be in leadership, leaders eat last, and when leaders try to go out, and not work as one team, it creates difficulties.”

In a telling exchange, McCarthy said that he had spoken to Cheney about playing down some of her comments. When he was asked if he thought she had taken the advice is answer was, “You be the judge.”

That wasn’t all. At a later press conference, McCarthy demurred when asked if Cheney was fit to lead the GOP. 

GOP Rift Is Nothing New

The ink on the Articles of Impeachment were barely dry when Liz Cheney began to lay blame for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building on Donald Trump.

In a tweet on Jan. 6 following the violence at the Capitol, Cheney said, “There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob. He lit the flame.”

Other GOP members of Congress also joined in on pinning the blame on Trump.

Over in the Senate, the same occurred. Those that many Trump supporters view as “RINOs” (Republican in name only) were also quick to blame Trump. Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) immediately following the violence in Washington D.C. stated that, 

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the Federal Government which they did not like. But we pressed on,”

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GOP Facing Classic Clash Of Establishment Vs. Young Guns

What is happening within the Republican Party may be nothing more than a simple case of the Establishment Old Guard clashing with relatively younger, more often newly-elected young guns of the party.

These latter are tired of the establishment status quo and are not afraid to take on the Democrats. 

The young guns are equally not afraid to take on members of their own party. On Monday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said that not inviting Trump to the retreat was “stupid.”

Greene argued, “Remember when Republicans lost the House in 2018 because a bunch of them distanced themselves from President Trump? Not inviting President Trump to the GOP retreat is the same stupid behavior. Funny how they don’t understand a record # of votes and support of any R President.”

Greene is among a handful of Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who are not afraid to call out the senior members of the GOP.

Based on every known measure, Cheney is in the wrong as it regards Trump’s standing among GOP voters.

A February CNBC poll showed that 74% of Republicans want Donald Trump to stay politically active in some way, and 48% want him to remain the perceived head of the Republican Party. 

The Democrats have problems of their own in managing the AOC wing of their party, but a sizable GOP rift could bring them together quick.

The bottom line for Republicans is that Trump or no Trump, 2022 is fast approaching. 


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