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GOP at crossroads after Capitol siege

GOP at crossroads after Capitol siege

The Republican Party is at a crossroads as it faces a future without President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE, who has suddenly become an enormous drag on his party amid growing outrage over the insurrection at the Capitol.

Corporate donors are withdrawing financial support from Republicans who backed Trump’s call to throw out votes in states President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE won, putting the GOP in danger of heading into the critical midterm elections at a significant cash disadvantage.

Social media giants have pulled Trump's accounts in response to last week’s violence and are cracking down on right-wing content, leaving the party with a massive messaging void.

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Public opinion polls show the GOP brand has been badly damaged. Senior administration officials and congressional aides are resigning in disgust.

There is growing frustration with GOP leaders viewed as complicit in the president’s behavior, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal Chuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment MORE (La.).

Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry DeSantis tops Trump in 2024 presidential straw poll White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE (R-Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (R-Mo.) have become pariahs on Capitol Hill and are facing calls from their colleagues to resign or be censured over their efforts to challenge the Electoral College vote count, which was interrupted by the deadly siege.

At the same time, Trump maintains enormous influence over the national conservative movement, a dynamic that was on full display when more than half the House GOP caucus voted to toss out the Electoral College vote in the hours after the Capitol was sacked.

The events of the past week represent a stunning turnaround for Republicans. The party had emerged from the general election feeling optimistic about its future despite Biden’s victory, having picked up seats in the House and seemingly prevented the Democrats from gaining the Senate majority — until losing two seats in last week’s runoffs in Georgia.

Trump will leave office in one week, likely as the first president to ever be impeached twice. But the battle over the direction of the Republican Party is intensifying between those who plan to stick with Trump to the bitter end and those who believe the GOP can only be viable in the long term if it completely excises him from the party.

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“Some of us would like to think that Trump will go away and everything will heal, but that’s probably Pollyanna talking. We are definitely at a crossroads,” said Mark Braden, former chief counsel for the Republican National Committee.

“Clearly there’s a group out there that Trump rightfully said would defend him even if he shot someone in the street. But how big is that group? I don’t know. The political fear of Trump has diminished, but the physical fear is increasing. It’s hard for traditional Republicans from the business community or social conservatives to understand what’s going on, and how their worldview fits with this Illuminati group inside the party.”

A typically reliable resource and ally for Republicans and conservative policies, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, vowed to withhold support going forward for certain members.

“There are some members that by their actions will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period, full stop,” Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the Chamber, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Chamber's PAC previously gave $10,000 to Hawley and more than $560,000 to Republicans in 2020.

Bradley, without specifying whose support has been pulled, said Chamber leadership will have “a lot more to say” on Hawley and others as they evaluate lawmakers’ actions from last week and in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.

A growing list of major companies are also cutting off donations to lawmakers who opposed the Electoral College results. While many said they would temporarily suspend donations to these Republicans, others indicated how far campaign contributions would be impacted.

Dow Chemical, for example, specified it would not give corporate and employee PAC contributions “to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election” for a period of one election cycle. Meanwhile, Hallmark Cards asked Hawley and Sen. Roger MarshallRoger W. MarshallKansas' Democratic governor set for bruising reelection fight Republicans grill Biden public lands agency pick over finances, advocacy Senate passes resolution urging probe into COVID-19 origins MORE (R-Kan.) to return the donations from its PAC, which gave $7,000 and $5,000 to them, respectively.

Others, including Facebook, JPMorgan Chase and BP, have said they will pause contributions to all lawmakers as they review PAC policies following the violent riot.

Those developments have rattled Republicans, who hope to win back the House and Senate in 2022.

Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), who is only just beginning his first term at the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, could face pressure to step down if he’s unable to raise money after voting to throw out some Electoral College votes.

Scott was one of eight Senate Republicans who objected to election results last week.

One former Republican National Committee operative, though, predicted that Scott’s experience will help him hold on to the top spot on the committee.

"My guess is that they're going to be okay and that he has a good reasoning behind his Pennsylvania vote and that he has the experience and the background to make sure that he has the resources that they need to win,” the source said.

Scott on Monday said Democratic “overreach” in the coming years will help Republicans win back the Senate majority in 2022.

McCarthy, a top House GOP fundraiser, has privately sought some separation from Trump, telling members to stop spreading misinformation about the riot.

Not many Republicans are expected to back impeachment in the House, but in a sign of Trump’s growing weakness, GOP leaders will not whip members to vote against it.

“The honest answer is it may depend on the Republican — who they are, what their goals are, and so forth,” said veteran Republican strategist Doug Heye.

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He pointed to the path of Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Canadian ambassador calls for close coordination in handling of US border Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (R-N.Y.), an ardent Trump supporter who had previously worked to distance herself from the president.

Stefanik has proven to be a valuable asset to the GOP in recruiting more Republican women to run for Congress. But she has faced backlash for repeatedly suggesting that widespread voter fraud led to an unfair election.

Harvard University’s Institute of Politics announced on Tuesday that Stefanik, an alumna of the university, had been removed from its advisory committee due to her spreading false claims about voter fraud.

Stefanik responded to the news by saying she would stand up for “for freedom of speech and freedom of thought.” 

“She very clearly made a decision that that would be okay for her,” Heye said.

Those who have steadfastly stood up to Trump over the course of the past few weeks could see their stock rise as a growing number of Republicans are emboldened to rebuke the president.

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Reps. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May Hillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Republican House campaign arm says it will begin soliciting cryptocurrency donations MORE (R-Minn.), Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyLiz Cheney hired security after death threats: report Cheney: 'It is disgusting and despicable' to see Gosar 'lie' about Jan. 6 GOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas MORE (R-Wyo.) and Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryHouse fails to pass bill to promote credit fairness for LGTBQ-owned businesses McCarthy unveils House GOP task forces, chairs On The Money: House panel spars over GameStop, Robinhood | Manchin meets with advocates for wage | Yellen says go big, GOP says hold off MORE (R-N.C.) are among those who withstood Trump’s pressure campaign on lawmakers to dispute the election’s outcome. Emmer heads the House GOP’s campaign arm.

Young GOP lawmakers, led by Reps. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerKinzinger: Conspiracy theory FBI planned Jan. 6 example of 'legacy of Trump and Trumpism' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin MORE (Ill.) and Peter Meijer (Mich.), have emerged as prominent critics of the president, calling him unfit for office and saying they will consider voting to impeach.

“There's no doubt history will be unkind to Republicans on the wrong side of last week's events,” said Colin Reed, a GOP strategist. “It will be a bright, dividing line in the months and years ahead. Unlike previous Trump-induced scandals that blew over after an initial national outrage, the breach of the Capitol will have long-lasting political implications. But it's also worth remembering that the overwhelming majority of the 74 million people who voted for Trump last November neither represent nor support what happened last week, and any Republican with national ambitions is going to have to stitch that coalition back together while condemning the riots in clear and unequivocal terms.”

Hawley, another young lawmaker, has faced an avalanche of criticism for acknowledging Capitol protesters prior to the storming of the Capitol. The first-term senator was photographed looking at the crowd with his fist in the air while walking into the building to challenge the election results.

“That image is very powerful both ways,” Heye said. “If you were about what happened Wednesday, that is an image you’re going to rally around. If you think what happened on Wednesday was a dark day for America, that’s one of the images that will be burned in your brain.”