As Republicans try to navigate their way forward in the post-Trump era, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is riding GOP leaders hard for seeking to abandon former President Donald Trump.
In an interview on Thursday with Lou Dobbs of Fox Business Channel, Gaetz said the party’s base was strong, but its leadership is in “shambles.”
He noted that now-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was “wavering” on Trump’s impeachment, while Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, was “spitting into the eyes” of millions of Trump voters by going along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democrats on the impeachment issue. Gaetz also appeared to fault House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for originally blaming Trump for causing the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Meanwhile, the Fort Walton Beach Republican suggested other leaders are “shaken” because corporate PACs are threatening to withhold campaign contributions from Republicans who supported the challenge to the Electoral College vote.
Gaetz accused GOP leaders of being “destructive” to the party’s base. He attributed that to a desire to “raise and direct” corporate funding that overpowered the instinct to win elections by supporting the agenda Trump promoted.
“There are too many people in Republican leadership right now who will do anything, who will sell out anyone, including former President Trump, if it means they get back in the good graces of corporate America that has gone totally woke-left,” Gaetz said.
Dobbs raised the issue of the Patriot Party, the third party that Trump has reportedly talked about starting, and noted its formation could be a “real likelihood” since both Republicans and Democrats have “sold out” everyday working Americans.
“Why would any Republican stay in the party?” Dobbs asked.
Gaetz replied, “If the Republican Party won’t fight to defend the legacy and policies of Donald Trump, if the Republican Party won’t unify against this sham impeachment, what much good it is?”
“If won’t stand up for the American people, if it won’t stand up for trade deals that put our workers first, why should we all be expected to have loyalty to an institution that doesn’t seem to have loyalty, at times, to its dynamic leaders and to its members and to the people of the greatest nation that’s ever existed?”
Gaetz added, “We’re gonna have to fight to define the Republican Party in the image of President Trump.”
And that means, he said, backing “America First” leaders who offer the “compelling alternative” to President Joe Biden.