Axios CEO says GOP before Trump will not return

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei said Friday that the Republican Party will not return to what it was before the era of former President Trump.

During a segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, the media CEO said“I had this conversation with three different people yesterday, who just pined the days of the Republican Party of old.”

“And my point to them was: It’s gone!” VandeHei continued.

The GOP has seen divisions rise within the party over Trump’s tenure, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. 

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) recently lost her House leadership position after vocalizing her disapproval of Trump over the Capitol riots and his repeated, false claims that the 2020 election was taint by widespread election fraud. 

The House GOP voted behind closed doors to boot her from her position as Republican conference chair, and she was later replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.). 

Other lawmakers like Sen. Mitt Romey (R-Utah) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) have also spoken out against the former president, and caught his ire as a result. 

Despite the pushback from some Republicans, Trump still remains the leader of the Republican Party, with many lawmakers seeking his highly coveted endorsement for reelection campaigns. 

Notably, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was one of the first to visit Trump at his residence in Florida after he left office. 

“Everyone assumed Jan. 6 was this watershed moment. … Historically insane, what happened. And yet almost instantly, at a moment where you would think it’s unthinkable, everyone snaps back like that — not just to the norm, but to the Trump norm,” VandeHei said.

Trump also enjoys enormous support among Republican voters across the U.S., and has teased a 2024 run. 

“Look at who gets attention to this day,” VandeHei said. “It’s Tucker [Carlson], it’s Ben Shapiro, Mike Pence, it’s Donald Trump. … The party does not care fundamentally about deficits.”

“I don’t even know that the vast majority of what you would call the base of the party right now cares that much about ideology. It’s much more an identity statement, a cultural statement,” VandeHei added.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Axios Donald Trump Elise Stefanik Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mike Pence

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