Dropped by the Republican establishment, on the verge of receiving the infamous mark of a second impeachment procedure, Donald Trump nevertheless remains very supported by many elected loyalists in Congress, who shout, like him, a “witch hunt” .
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Electoral interest or pure conviction?
Republicans in the House are proclaiming loud and clear their loyalty, despite the assault on Capitol Hill on January 6 by pro-Trump demonstrators and the prospect of his “impeachment” Wednesday for “incitement to insurgency”.
And continue to support the baseless theory that he actually won the November 3 presidential election against Democrat Joe Biden.
“President Trump has been the leader of this party and will continue to be a leader of the party,” Jim Jordan told AFP on Tuesday, leaving a parliamentary committee in this decisive week for the end of the billionaire’s mandate Republican, who is due to leave the White House on January 20.
“Of course he will keep a great influence,” added this Republican representative from Ohio.
On the verge of becoming the first president of the United States to suffer twice the infamy of an impeachment procedure, he appears in turmoil, even let go by some Republicans who denounce him in very virulent terms.
In front of them, his followers give voice.
“We must defend Donald Trump,” tweeted Tuesday Taylor Greene, who has represented a conservative Georgia stronghold in the House since January. Donald Trump “said nothing bad” to the demonstrators before the attack on the Capitol, she hammered on the ultra-conservative Newsmax channel, which the outgoing president appreciates.
“You will never take back our country by being weak,” he told his supporters on January 6, while announcing that the crowd would march towards Congress so that their voices are heard in a “peaceful and patriotic” way.
“He did not support the riots, he did not plan them,” said Marjorie Taylor Greene, close to the QAnon conspiracy movement. “So this week’s witch hunt is just an extension of what we’ve seen in the four-year term” of Trump.
After the violence which left five dead, the parliamentarians resumed on the night of January 6 the vote to certify the victory of Joe Biden. And about two-thirds of House Republicans had maintained their objection to certification of votes in key states, echoing Donald Trump’s conspiracy theories.
Half a dozen senators had done the same, but the influential Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, warned him that refusing Joe Biden’s victory would plunge American democracy into a “death spiral”.
Deeply shocked by the attack on Capitol Hill, Democrats have since accused Donald Trump of inciting “internal terrorism”.
Calling the 75 million Americans who voted for the real estate mogul “domestic terrorists is not pleading for the rally,” tackled Lauren Boebert, the newly elected Conservative in the House, on Tuesday.
Wearing a pro-Trump hat on her Twitter profile, the one who rose to prominence by announcing that she intended to keep her handgun in Congress, greeted January 6 as a revolutionary day. “Today is 1776”, the date of independence from the United States, she tweeted in the morning.
Unlike other US presidents with a single term like Jimmy Carter or George Bush, the real estate mogul “still holds immense influence within his own party” despite his defeat, underlines Kyle Kondik, political scientist at the University of Virginia.
Many elected Republicans “fear rejection from both the president and their own constituents, many of whom remain more loyal to Trump than to the party.” But perhaps in addition to the violent episode on Capitol Hill, his departure from the White House will undermine “his power”, he adds.
For veteran Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, only “time will tell” if the billionaire’s influence will endure. “But what I know is that this president was unique because he listened to people,” the Republican told AFP on Tuesday. “And I also know that right now people are wondering if someone is going to listen to them, or carry their voices.”