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There’s nothing quite like a dust-up between two prominent members of the same party to stir the blood. Whether it’s New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbing insults at each other, or President Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy barely concealing what one book called their “mutual contempt,” it catches the eye the way a scrap between people wearing the same uniform enlivens any sport.

But if you want to know why Donald Trump’s public insult to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell is different, look at the response of McConnell’s fellow Republicans, who dispatched Senator Rick Scott to fly to Florida to placate Trump with the coveted—and heretofore nonexistent—“Champion for Freedom” award.

In another time, fellow members of the world’s greatest deliberative body would have rallied round their colleague, or at least held their tongues, secure in their positions. Now, however, they look warily at the political fate of Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and Mark Sanford—and the potential fate of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, John Thune and other Republicans who have incurred the wrath of Trump.

In part it’s the source of his anger that marks his attack on fellow Republicans unique—and in part, it’s because he doesn’t mind what kind of damage he does to the party. Disputes between fellow party members are hardly new, but they’re usually limited (on both sides) by an understanding of the collateral damage. When one side really doesn’t care, all bets are off.

Intra-party disputes have historically taken place during the election process, unlike this one, and they’ve usually been driven by major political arguments, a clash of personal ambitions, or both. Theodore Roosevelt tried to unseat his chosen successor, William Howard Taft, for the GOP nomination in 1912—and when Taft won, he then ran a third-party campaign arguing that Taft had betrayed the Republican agenda. In 1936, Al Smith tried to deny President Franklin Roosevelt a second term, based in part on FDR’s aggressive use of federal power to fight the impact of the Depression. Eisenhower and Robert Taft (son of William Howard) staged a Pier Six brawl in 1952 over the direction of the Republican Party. Robert Kennedy ran against LBJ in 1968 with the Vietnam War as his cause; Ronald Reagan was the conservative challenger to the incumbent President Gerald Ford in 1976; Ted Kennedy was the liberal challenger to President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Once that battle is over, there’s powerful pressure to shake hands, or at least coexist, and take the fight to the other team. Bob Kerrey held his 1992 primary rival Bill Clinton in minimum high regard—“He’s an exceptionally skillful liar,” he said of Clinton at one point—but he cast the deciding vote for Clinton’s economic package in 1993 because he didn’t want to effectively cripple a Democratic presidency before it had begun. It takes a special kind of animus for a member of one party to actually defeat a key goal of his or her party’s president, as John McCain did in July, 2017, when he walked into the well of the Senate and dramatically cast a thumbs-down “no” vote to kill Trump’s attempt to repeal Obamacare; perhaps Trump’s sneer that he “liked heroes who weren’t captured” may have had something to do with that vote.

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But then, there’s always been something different about Donald Trump and the Republican Party—in part because he seems to have a stronger connection to its voters than the party leadership does. Even after he won the nomination in 2016, four of the five previous GOP presidential nominees refused to endorse him, as did fully a fifth of the Republican senators…and he won a higher percentage of Republican voters that November than did Ronald Reagan. This past January, seven senators of his own party voted to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors, and Trump’s support among rank-and-file party members was effectively unshaken.

Once Trump survived, the party found itself having to pay respects again, and not just with the silver bowl Rick Scott handed him earlier this week. The same Republican Senate leader who denounced Trump for a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and held him “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the January 6th Capitol riot duly said he would support him as the 2024 nominee. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and presidential wannabe Nikki Haley have executed even more breathtaking pirouettes, from condemnation to supplication. They and other Republicans seem to have looked at January 6th as the final straw—the climax of behavior so egregious that it finally gave them free rein to call out the president—and then watched, to their horror, as Trump, like Freddy Krueger, emerged whole and ready to inflict fatal political wounds on those who defied him.

Nor did Republicans need to call Trump out for his behavior in order to draw his anger. The standard for Republican heresy went far beyond a vote to impeach or convict. The simple willingness to follow the plain commands of the law, as did Kemp, or acknowledge that Joe Biden had won, as did Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, was enough.

For Republican leaders, the urgent call is to find some way toward a truce of sorts. If the party can manage to hold itself together, they know full well that history will be on their side as they seek to retake the House and Senate, given what normally happens to a president’s party in the midterms.

They also know what happens when a headline figure who becomes power-hungry, or really doesn’t care about the collateral damage, goes after members of his own party. When FDR tied to “purge” Democrats in 1938, the party lost 72 House seats and seven Senate seats. Theodore Roosevelt’s third-party run against his chosen successor William Howard Taft doomed the Republican to a humiliating third-place finish in 1912.

Trump, too, took down the Republican establishment in 2016, and seems completely unchastened by his loss in 2020. Any plea to Trump to turn down the heat ignores a lifetime’s worth of behavior. Asking Trump not to insult those who have offended him is liking asking him not to exhale.


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Capitol Police turned attention from ’200’ Proud Boys gathered on Jan. 6, lawmaker says

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“Why did the department decide to monitor the … counterdemonstrators but apparently, according to this timeline, not to monitor the Proud Boys?” Lofgren asked Bolton. “What happened to these 200 Proud Boys over the course of the day?”

Bolton said he didn’t have the answer to Lofgren’s questions, but said he hoped to have answers after his next report.

“We have the same kind of concerns,” Bolton said.

He also questioned the timeline’s accuracy and said these questions were part of why he moved up a report on command and control and radio traffic to June from later this summer.

Representatives for the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Evidence filed by the Justice Department suggests coordination between groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia network, ahead of then-President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. In a debate in September, when asked to condemn white supremacists, Trump called on the Proud Boys

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, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group, to “stand back” and “stand by.”

The department’s highest-ranking on-the-ground commander, Eric Waldow, urged officers to look out for anti-Trump demonstrators among the sprawling pro-Trump crowd, POLITICO previously reported. Lawmakers have expressed fears that the department didn’t take seriously enough the threat that pro-Trump extremists posed to Congress.

Bolton issued a report in April that found the department’s unit for responding to violent protests is antiquated enough that officers “actively find ways to circumvent getting assigned there.”

Bolton also said on Monday that the department didn’t “adequately” put out guidance for countersurveillance and threat assessment, and had communications procedures that could have “led to critical countersurveillance information not being appropriately communicated” in the department.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.


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Trump super PAC to hold first fundraiser at Bedminster

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A pro-Donald Trump super PAC is holding its first fundraising event on May 22 at the former president’s Bedminster golf club, according to two people familiar with the planning.

The event will benefit Make America Great Again Action, a super PAC spearheaded by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Trump is expected to attend the event, which will include reception and a dinner. The minimum price for entry is $250,000.

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Trump tapped Lewandowki earlier this year to oversee the super PAC as part of his post-White House political operation. It’s the second big money group Trump has formed. Shortly after the election, he launched Save America PAC, a leadership PAC that has raised tens of millions of dollars.


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Pierre ‘Pete’ du Pont IV dies; ran for president in 1988

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“I was born with a well-known name and genuine opportunity. I hope I have lived up to both,” du Pont said in announcing his longshot presidential bid in September 1986.

As a presidential candidate, du Pont attracted attention for staking out controversial positions on what he hoped would reverberate with voters as “damn right” issues. They included random drug testing for high school students, school vouchers, replacing welfare with work, ending farm subsidies, and allowing workers to invest in individual retirement accounts as an alternative to Social Security.

Some of those ideas have since become more mainstream.

He won the endorsement of New Hampshire’s largest newspaper but failed to gain traction among voters. He ended his campaign after finishing next-to-last in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

Afterward, du Pont remained engaged in politics. He frequently wrote opinion pieces for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and co-founded the online public policy journal IntellectualCapital.com. He also served as chairman of Hudson Institute, the National Review Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonpartisan public policy research organization.

Pierre du Pont IV was born Jan. 22, 1935, in Delaware. After attending Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, he graduated from Princeton University in 1956 with an engineering degree. Following a four-year stint in the Navy, he obtained a law degree from Harvard University in 1963.

He joined the Du Pont Company, where he held several positions, resigning as a quality control supervisor in 1968 to begin his political career.

After running unopposed for a state House seat in 1968, he immediately set his sights on Congress, running as a fiscal conservative and winning the first of three terms in 1970.

Elected governor in 1976, du Pont fought successfully to restore financial integrity to a state he had declared “bankrupt” shortly after his inauguration. He presided over two income tax cuts; constitutional amendments restricting state spending and requiring three-fifths votes in the legislature to raise taxes; and establishment of an independent revenue forecasting panel.

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After a rocky start with Democratic legislators, including an embarrassing override of a 1977 budget veto, du Pont forged successful relationships with lawmakers from both parties to tackle thorny issues including prison overcrowding and corruption and school desegregation. He was re-elected in a landslide in 1980, winning a record 71 percent of the vote and becoming the first two-term governor in Delaware in 20 years.

In his second term, du Pont signed landmark legislation that loosened Delaware’s banking laws, including removing the cap on interest rates that banks could charge customers. The Financial Center Development Act made Delaware a haven for some of the country’s largest credit card issuers.

Under du Pont’s leadership, Delaware also established a nonprofit employment counseling and job placement program for Delaware high school seniors not bound for college. It served as the model for a national program adopted by several other states.

Prohibited by law from seeking a third term, du Pont briefly withdrew to the private sector, joining a Wilmington law firm in 1985. A year and a half later, he announced his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, becoming the first declared candidate in the 1988 campaign.

During an appearance at the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington, where du Pont announced he was abandoning his presidential campaign, he praised an electoral process that gave a shot at the White House to a former small-state governor with unorthodox ideas.

“You’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime. You listened, you considered and you chose. I could not have asked for any more,” du Pont said. “For in America, we do not promise that everyone wins, only that everyone gets a chance to try.”

Du Pont is survived by his wife of over 60 years, the former Elise R. Wood; a daughter and three sons; and 10 grandchildren.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a memorial service will be held at a later date, Perkins said.


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