"They'll never say it publicly," Politico reports in Thursday morning's Playbook. "But Republicans in Washington are dreading Donald Trump's return to the stump, predicting his rallies will cause a major headache for the party as it mounts a bid to take back Congress in 2022." Congressional Republicans are privately relieved Twitter and Facebook banned Trump, Politico says, but the resumption of his rallies in June likely means he just gets a new platform to "spout conspiracy theories about the election and air his grievances," denying the party a chance to move on and attack President Biden's agenda.
"If we win the majority back in 17 months, it's going to be in spite of Trump — not because of Trump," one senior aide to a House Republican considered one of Trump's top congressional supporters told Politico's Playbook team, anonymously. "He will totally take credit if we win the House back — but it won't be because of him. This guy is a disaster."
A surprising array of Republicans say they would like Trump to fade back and allow a Republican with less baggage to represent the party in 2024, Politico's Olivia Beavers and Burgess Everett report. "Of course, most of them would sooner retire than attach their names to that opinion. As one publicly Trump-praising Republican lawmaker put it: 'I'd like to see a fresh face. I think we have a lot of them.'" Other congressional Republicans similarly pined, anonymously, for Trump's retirement.
Conservative columnist Matt Lewis, who isn't a fan of Trump, wrestled in The Daily Beast with how the GOP got to this "pathetic" point where groveling before Trump, swallowing both "primal desire for pride and honor and dignity" and Trump's abuses of their family members, is the only path to career advancement.
"I've had to bite my tongue on occasion to stay gainfully employed (and married, for that matter)," Lewis writes, but "all bets are off the first time my boss publicly insults my wife — or tries to have my family member murdered by a violent mob." And Trump isn't even their boss, he reminded elected Republicans. Apparently, though, "he's the alpha male, and the betas all cower before him. What we're left with is a GOP full of neutered opportunists — snowflakes paying their dues, biting their tongues, and hoping to retire with a gold watch."