After headlining two rallies this week, one in Pennsylvania and the other in Florida, president Donald Trump visited Ohio today, making what CNN called a “last-minute” pitch to prevent another special election defeat ahead of midterms.
During the rally, Trump praised fellow Republican Troy Balderson saying, “He’s really tough. He’s really smart. He never stops working.” Balderson thanked the president, and then praised his economic efforts.
What caught the media’s attention are not Balderson or Trump’s congratulatory statements, but the president’s braggadocios comments. According to The Hill, Trump boasted about his ability to “destroy” careers of Republicans who oppose him.
“How do you get 100 percent of anything? We always have somebody who says ‘I don’t like Trump, I don’t like our president, he destroyed my career.’ I only destroy their careers because they said bad things about me and you fight back and they go down the tubes and that’s okay.”
As The Hill noted, Donald Trump did not name any names, but GOP lawmaker Mark Sanford first comes to mind. The former South Carolina governor lost a GOP primary for reelection to his House seat, after President Trump called him out via Twitter, pointing out that Sanford had once disappeared from the public view, just so he could visit his girlfriend in Argentina. Mark Sanford was married at the time of the “disappearance.”
The president also picked sides when he decided to back Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp over Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle in a GOP primary. Trump’s pick, Brian Kemp, won. Maneuvers like this signal that the Republican Party has become the party of Donald Trump, The Hill concluded.
Trump says he only "destroys careers" of anti-Trump Republicans because "they said bad things about me." pic.twitter.com/Hj5XGaKx9N
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 4, 2018
— The Hill (@thehill) August 5, 2018
Echoing the sentiment today expressed by The Hill, veteran Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who advised John McCain during his 2008 presidential run, quit the Republican Party in June, claiming that it had become the party of Donald Trump.
As the Independent reported, Schmidt said that the GOP had become “corrupt, indecent, and immoral,” blasting his former party in a series of tweets, and promising to vote for the Democrats.
Arguing that all presidents seek to remake their party in their own image, the Economist wrote that Donald Trump has been more successful than most of his predecessors.
According to the outlet, the “cult of loyalty” to Trump and his base has affected policymaking, created division within the GOP, and forced Republicans to rely on President Donald Trump’s loyal base in order to win elections. While some Republicans disagree with the president’s policies, for Trump’s base, the Economist concluded, establishment criticism means he’s doing something right.