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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 TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call 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 BidenDC residents jumped at opportunity to pay for meals for National Guardsmen Joe Biden might bring 'unity' – to the Middle East Biden shouldn't let defeating cancer take a backseat to COVID 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 McCarthyHouse GOP leader says he has 'concerns' over Cheney's impeachment vote McCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency MORE (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseBiden under pressure to deliver more COVID-19 shots Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration MORE (La.).

Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBiden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Ethics complaint filed against Biggs, Cawthorn and Gosar over Capitol riot Hawley, Cruz see approval ratings dip in wake of Capitol riot: poll MORE (R-Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyTrump DHS chief argues for swift confirmation of Biden pick amid Hawley hold Overnight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Ethics complaint filed against Biggs, Cawthorn and Gosar over Capitol riot 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. MarshallOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' 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 StefanikLincoln Project hits Stefanik in new ad over support for Trump Wyoming county votes to censure Liz Cheney for Trump impeachment vote Stefanik knocks Albany newspaper over 'childless' characterization 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 EmmerGOP at crossroads after Capitol siege Wave of companies cut off donations — much of it to GOP California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success MORE (R-Minn.), Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyHouse GOP leader says he has 'concerns' over Cheney's impeachment vote Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump MORE (R-Wyo.) and Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryOn The Money: Treasury announces efforts to help people get stimulus payments | Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury | Judge sets ground rules for release of Trump taxes The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP at crossroads after Capitol siege 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 KinzingerCheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated 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.”