Republican Infighting Erupts Into Civil War

Paul Ryan

The pressures of governing in a post-Trump world is threatening to further fracture the Republican Party. 

Just when you thought politics could not get any crazier with The Donald, he shocked the Republican party by cutting a deal with the Democrats. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were seen with Trump in a photo shot by Getty photographer Alex Wong, after Trump accepted a deal from the Democrats.

This photo and the deal were the Republican’s worst nightmare. Even Democrats were surprised by Trump’s decision to accept their proposal.

A quick review of recent headlines confirms concerns that the GOP is heading towards a civil war over Trump.

“The GOP’s Civil War Over Trump” reads a recent headline by Politico, accompanied by the following subtitle: “A Global Politico special report on the Republican Party’s epic internal battle over its own president.”

Bloomberg offered the following grim headline: “Trump Risks GOP Civil War in Pushing Congress for ‘Dreamer’ Bill,” and Vanity Fair‘s headline read: “With Shot at Dreamers, Trump Launches GOP Civil War.”

Republicans who have been a united group of several factions are now freaking out over Trump’s latest deal with the Democrats to link Harvey Aid, the debt ceiling, and government funding. While the deal for funding the government is only good for 3 months, it pushed Republican conservatives to the edge in their relationship with Trump. That is not the end of it. In the next 6 months, a decision has to be made about the DACA or Dreamers. Add that Trump tweeted (At Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion – jeesh, was it her perfume that day?) that Dreamers don’t face imminent deportation, and you have enough to create a major rift in the Republican party.

Senate and House Republicans were in shock over the announcement of the agreement with Schumer and Pelosi. Paul Ryan (R-WI) saw it as a rebuke by Trump. Hours before the deal was made, Ryan commented that he thought the “Democratic plan was a ridiculous idea”, while Ben Sasse (R-NE) said “The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad.” Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told CNN Politics that he will support the deal, although he believes the deal was between Trump and the Democrats. Other Republicans saw it as Trump’s way of being Bipartisan. These were mild comments compared to those that came from the far right.

The Republican response to the agreement with the Democrats and the revocation of the DACA act highlights the vast differences between Republicans. While the Democrats have their issues, those of the Republicans are more pronounced. The far right wing, which includes the Christian Right, is a huge distance from the more moderate wings of the party.

There is a lot of knife throwing going on. Mark Walker (R-NC), chairman of the Republican Study Committee (the largest bloc of House conservatives) wrote to Ryan and told him he opposed the deal and that many Republicans are not going to support it.

Huffington Post reports that many Republicans are blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for the deal Trump made with Democrats.

According to Bloomberg Politics, the Freedom Caucus members were frustrated with the way congressional party members are handling the party’s legislative agenda.’ Freedom Caucus member Mark Meadows (R-NC) in an interview with Bloomberg said “If we get to December and we have not repealed and replaced Obamacare,” funded Trump’s Mexican border wall or overhauled tax laws, “it’s not going to be pretty,” The caucus has also said they cannot block the 3 month debt agreement.

Former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) is quoted by Huffington Post as saying: “Lack of preparation leads to poor choices, and the fact that we weren’t here ― and you heard me say this the other night ― we weren’t here for six weeks, the longest non-election-year break we’ve had in a decade [and] that’s a problem.”

Representative Bill Flores, a Republican helping round up votes for the deal, said his count of party members intending to vote yes on the legislation “didn’t look very good.” The Senate passed the legislation 80-17, the 17 were all Republicans.

The closer it gets to December, the more it looks like the Republicans are going to go to war against each other. Steve Bannon has predicted that a congressional debate over the program (DACA) will tear the party apart.

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