With Trump and the GOP going “pedal to the metal” now that we’re only weeks away from the Iowa caucuses and the official start of the presidential primary season, it remains abundantly clear that Mitch McConnell’s long-term goal of mowing down conservative opposition to the party establishment remains a top priority.
Here’s a little background on how, under Trump, Mickey’s goal has been picking up steam:
It was early in his first term that Trump made his feelings about conservatives crystal clear when he openly called for the elimination of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) and targeted Rep. Justin Amash for daring to oppose his omnipotence.
The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 1, 2017
Trump’s intimidation tactics worked to destroy the HFC; the formerly conservative group completed its journey to the dark side of the GOP force after the party’s 2018 midterm shellacking. But Amash elected to leave the HFC instead of abandon his principles, and he left the Republican establishment to become an Independent.
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2018
During the 2018 midterms, Trump succeeded in taking out another member of the conservative resistance, then-Rep. Mark Sanford. Trump supported Katie Arrington who narrowly defeated Sanford in the primary only to lose the reliably red seat to Democrat Joe Cunningham, a loss she blamed on Sanford.
Recently, Trump and the GOP appeared to have had a falling out with each other when Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) appointed Kelly Loeffler to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Johnny Isakson who retired due to health reasons. Trump wanted Kemp to appoint Rep. Doug Collins (R), a Trumpist who led the GOP’s opposition to Trump’s impeachment.
Though the Loeffler appointment seemed to be a setback in Trump’s war on conservatives, the simple reality is that he and the GOP each got exactly what they wanted in the end — a big-money non-conservative senator willing to do the bidding of the party establishment … an establishment more than willing to return the favor.
After her swearing in last week, Loeffler dove headfirst into the swamp by securing an appointment to the Senate Agriculture Committee where she will be one of the senators overseeing the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. One of the companies subject to CFTC oversight is International Exchange, Inc., a company run by her husband, CEO Jeffrey Sprecher.
Though clearly a Trump-esque conflict of interest, Loeffler has assured us in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that we have nothing to worry about because she’s simply following Senate “ethics” rules:
“I have worked hard to comply with both the letter and spirit of the Senate’s ethics rules and will continue to do so every day. I will recuse myself if needed on a case-by-case basis.”
Speaking of being Trump-esque, Loeffler’s past is a mixed bag of political uncertainty that mirrors the New York liberal occupying the White House. The rookie senator is double-minded on abortion just like Trump, and she’s provided financial support to Democrats running for office just like Trump. In 2008 she provided financial support to Hillary Clinton, just like Trump.
Still, Loeffler’s connection with the GOP establishment is secure. She essentially bought her appointment by promising the National Republican Senatorial Committee that she would commit $20 million of her own money toward her election in November, and she gave the NRSC $247,500 ahead of getting the gig. In return, McConnell and the NRSC he used to chair have given her their unconditional support.
The Trump/GOP anti-conservative army marches on.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.