Even those who’ve stood against Donald Trump in the past have to admit it: the former President still has tremendous power and influence over the Republican party.
Trump also retained millions of faithful voters after the last election, and many of them are hoping he decides to run again in 2024.
But no matter what happens, even the biggest Trump critics know “The Donald” is still very much in control.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) hasn’t been a tremendous supporter of Trump over the years. In fact, he’s been quite vocal in the past and many GOP members have criticized him for his words.
However, even Kinzinger has to realize that right now, the Republican party has an unofficial leader — and his last name is Trump.
In speaking with NBC News’ Chuck Todd, Kinzinger accused Trump of constantly bringing up the “stolen election narrative,” which he’s slammed Trump for in recent months.
But then he admitted that in fact, Kevin McCarthy is not the true leader (via IJR):
You cannot, on the one hand, say that Donald Trump is a leader or the leader of the Republican Party — I believe he is the leader of the Republican Party right now because Kevin McCarthy gave him his leadership card.
You can’t say he’s the leader and then say we have to move on. I would love to move on, Chuck.
Kinzinger added that the GOP must keep pushing back on Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
He also defended recently fired Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for also going after the former President for his election claims. Cheney was recently ousted from her #3 position in the Republican Party.
And Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) had this to say about it:
She forfeited her ability to be our spokesperson by pulling us into this direction.
From a position designed to speak for all of us, she has been looking backwards while repeatedly and unhelpfully engaging in personal attacks and finger-wagging towards President Trump rather than leading the conference forward with a unifying message.
As for Kinzinger, he’s one of several Republicans who have publicly stated they want to “move on” from Trump.
However, that won’t happen so long as the former President still has his followers, and the GOP backs him. So, even anti-Trumpers like Kinzinger have to know how things stand.
Even if Trump isn’t an official “leader,” his clout remains hefty.