Social media has been his weapon of choice in fighting Republican dissidents, but Donald Trump is looking to tighten his iron grip on the party even after a Wednesday decision extending his ban on Facebook.
Despite losing the presidency to Joe Biden last year and a second arraignment after the deadly January insurgency on U.S. Capitol, the brash billionaire remains his party’s most influential figure.
He made it clear he knew it on Wednesday, reiterating his bogus allegations of voter fraud and demanding a leadership reshuffle that led his former rival Biden to declare that a “mini-revolution” was shaking the Republican Party.
Trump lambasted party leaders who publicly berated him, including Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, or who voted to impeach him in January, including Third House Republican Liz Cheney, who appears to be growing. more likely to be removed from conference presidency.
“Liz Cheney is a hawkish fool who has nothing to do with the leadership of the Republican Party,” Trump said in a fervent statement, adding that he supports leaders who believe in his “Make America Great Again” movement.
New York Republican MP “Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my FULL and TOTAL endorsement for the GOP conference chair,” he said.
Stefanik, a 36-year-old former moderate who moved all-in for Trump during his presidency, has voted against certification of election results for Biden in several swaying states.
Trump’s endorsement comes amid growing party tensions over Cheney, the oldest Republican woman in Congress, who has refused to back down on her public denunciations of Trump.
And all of this ensures that a conference-wide vote on whether or not to keep Cheney in office will take place soon after lawmakers return to Washington next week.
Cheney, a third-term member of Congress from Wyoming, hit back at Trump in a new op-ed.
Her party was “at a crossroads,” she wrote in the Washington Post, calling on her fellow Republicans to “move away from the dangerous and undemocratic cult of Trump’s personality.”
“History is watching,” she added.
The internal iron fist caught the attention of Biden, who told reporters Wednesday that he was surprised by the Republican revolt.
“I think Republicans are further removed from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought at this point,” he said.
Minutes after Facebook’s independent supervisory board upheld Trump’s ban – though he ordered the social media giant to reconsider the case – he called the restriction a “utter disgrace” and put in guard against limiting a president’s free speech rights.
He also repeated his bold lie that Biden and other Democrats stole the election.
Cheney “keeps saying unknowingly and foolishly that there was no voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election when in fact the evidence … shows the exact opposite,” Trump boiled.
“If the oblivious and distraught MINORITY leader Mitch McConnell… had fought to expose all the corruption that had been presented at the time, with more findings since, we would have had a very different presidential outcome and our country ne socialist nightmare. “
The former president launched a rallying cry to his supporters: “Never give up! “
– Megaphone missing –
As Trump contemplates another White House run, he launched a new page on his website where he pledges to present information to voters “straight from Donald J. Trump’s office.”
But it is undoubtedly missing the social media megaphone that has allowed it to dominate news cycles and impulsively deliver its message to over 100 million subscribers.
“To be clear, if you’re Trump and want to be influential in 2022 and 2024 – and possibly run for office in 2024 – you’re better off being on social media than not,” Professor Joshua Tucker, Co-Director of Le New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics, told AFP.
Trump’s attacks on Wednesday appeared to be aimed at cutting the wings of high-profile Republicans who did not embrace his bogus electoral fraud narrative.
Cheney, 54, is one of the few Republicans in Congress to openly declare that Trump lost his place in November.
She repeated that claim on Monday, tweeting that anyone who claims the 2020 election was stolen “is spreading THE BIG LIE (and) poisoning our democratic system.”
While Cheney easily won a Republican secret ballot vote in February, Trump’s backed challenge to his leadership role may well end in his ouster.
Republican Kevin McCarthy backed Cheney in February, but was recently caught on a microphone saying he had “lost confidence” in her.
© 2021 AFP