MAGA Malarkey: The Extremism You Missed From Republicans This Week

MAGA Republicans stooped to new lows this week with their extremism, hypocrisy, chaos, and — as President Biden would call it — malarkey. In case you missed it: Donald Trump is bringing back crooks, cranks, and convicts to help his campaign; the RNC is asking potential staffers to prove their loyalty to Trump by denying the 2020 election results; the RNC’s disastrous fundraising is even worse than we thought; the RNC’s swing state battleground offices are in complete disarray; the Republican Study Committee is backing Trump’s plans to slash funding for law enforcement; MAGA Mike Johnson wanted to threaten access to telemedicine and abortion medication; and Republicans lost a Trump-won Alabama state House seat in a campaign that was heavily focused on reproductive freedom.  

They’re getting the band back together: With Paul Manafort, Corey Lewandowski, and Roger Stone tapped for key campaign roles, Trump’s crew of crooks, cranks, and convicts are once again joining forces. 

The Guardian: “Headache for campaign team as Trump gets the band back together”

“Paul Manafort, a veteran political consultant, could return as a campaign adviser later this year, according to the Washington Post newspaper. … Trump pardoned Manafort in 2020, seven months after he was released to home confinement, sparing the Republican operative from serving the bulk of his seven-and-a-half-year prison term for federal tax evasion and bank fraud.

“Meanwhile the New York Times reported that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager in 2016, could also play a role at the convention. Lewandowski was ousted from a pro-Trump political action committee in 2021 after a major donor’s wife accused him of inappropriate behavior.”

“Meanwhile Roger Stone, a self-proclaimed dirty trickster who has been a friend and ally of Trump for 30 years, still speaks to him occasionally and was spotted at the Super Tuesday victory party at Mar-a-Lago. Stone was convicted of obstructing a congressional investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign and sentenced to 40 months in prison before the then president commuted the sentence.”

Those looking for a job at the RNC are facing a new litmus test: belief in the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

The Washington Post: “Was the 2020 election stolen? Job interviews at RNC take an unusual turn.”

“Those seeking employment at the Republican National Committee after a Donald Trump-backed purge of the committee this month have been asked in job interviews if they believe the 2020 election was stolen, according to people familiar with the interviews, making the false claim a litmus test of sorts for hiring.”

“The query about the 2020 election startled some of the potential employees, who viewed it as questioning their loyalty to Trump and as an unusual job interview question, according to the people familiar with the interviews.”

“The questions about the 2020 election were open-ended, two people familiar with the questioning said. ‘But if you say the election wasn’t stolen, do you really think you’re going to get hired?’ one former RNC employee asked.”

“Trump installed Michael Whatley, a loyalist from North Carolina, as the chairman of the party, along with daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair. Trump has falsely maintained that the election was stolen since 2020 and has often endorsed candidates based on agreement with that belief. He is facing charges in federal court in Washington over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

“Some Trump advisers have urged him for years to stop talking about the election, but he has largely resisted those entreaties.”

The RNC fundraising hole is far deeper than it looks, with millions of dollars “unusable for political spending.”

Daily Beast: “The RNC’s Fundraising Hole Is Even Deeper Than It Looks”

“A lot of the RNC’s recent fundraising—millions of dollars of it—is unusable for political spending. Instead, that money can only support a limited range of activities. (As luck would have it, much of that money can be spent on Donald Trump’s legal bills, potentially even to help pay down the judgments against him.)”

“The Daily Beast’s analysis of Federal Election Commission filings found that, of the roughly $22.3 million that the RNC has reported raising this year, more than $8 million of it—about 36 percent—cannot be used for political expenses. (At this same point in 2020, the money in the RNC’s Cromnibus accounts accounted for less than 10 percent—$7.5 million—of the total $77 million cash on hand.)”

“The party is navigating a cash crunch brought on by a combination of poor fundraising and heavy spending, while facing the prospect of devoting major resources to help shore up down-ballot candidates, financially troubled state parties, and its presidential nominee, Trump—who himself faces a fundraising crisis after siphoning tens of millions of dollars from supporters to fund his snowballing personal legal bills.”

After laying off key staff and threatening to close community outreach centers, the RNC is now scrambling to fundraise and hire qualified staffers at state headquarters in battleground states. 

Axios: “Trump’s RNC struggles in swing states as Biden’s team grows”

“The Trump-led Republican National Committee is scrambling to boost staffs and give loyalty tests in seven battleground states at a time when several GOP state parties are plagued by dysfunction and disarray.”

“Less than eight months before the Nov. 5 election, significant parts of the RNC’s get-out-the-vote operation in states likely to decide the election are playing catch-up after Trump’s team ousted 60 staffers in its recent takeover.”

“In [job] interviews, Trump’s team has asked some candidates whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen, the Washington Post first reported.”

“Trump’s RNC initially cut the party’s community centers for minority voters and a program to encourage early voting, but reinstated them after a backlash within the party.”

“Many Republicans fear the RNC upheaval — and unrelated chaos in state parties, particularly in swing states Michigan and Arizona — is a setback for a party that for years has tried to get more volunteers to recruit support in their neighborhoods.”

Axios: “The AZGOP is selling the headquarters it bought 9 months ago”

“The big picture: The AZGOP has been plagued by dysfunction and poor fundraising over the past few years, just as it attempts to fight back against recent Democratic political gains.”

The Republican Study Committee’s extreme proposed budget would slash funding for law enforcement and make our communities less safe.

Republican Study Committee FY 2025 Budget Proposal: “COPS was created in the 1990s as a means to support state and local law enforcement agencies with expenses like salaries, court programs, and juvenile justice programs. … the RSC Budget would support a reduction to this program.”

CNN: “Some lawmakers on the far right such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona, have carried Trump’s mantel in calling for a full defund of the FBI.”

Sahil Kapur, NBC News: “Donald Trump pressures Republicans to defund the (federal) police.”

Jonathan Allen, NBC News: “When Trump was president, he proposed slashing federal funding for local police forces.”

In an unearthed 2020 rant, MAGA Mike Johnson railed against access to medication abortion and telemedicine that provides women with necessary reproductive health care.

Johnson: “One of the things we’re trying to be on the lookout for is the rise, the use of chemical abortions because there’s this move towards telemedicine and off-site medical treatment and that kind of thing. So there will be a push and, you know, the other side will say, ‘This is very compassionate, what about the evolving nature of medicine, we need to be able to treat people remotely, and so we’ll just mail them a chemical that will induce the abortion’ — a pill or syringe or whatever it is. 

“We have to be very vigilant about that, the states are going to have to ramp up regulation of off-site medical treatment — and those are good innovations because it helps a lot of people when you’re talking about true medical help. But in the abortion industry, Planned Parenthood and the abortion cartels are going to try their best to maximize profits with that of course, because they always put profit over people. And we’ve got to be watching for that, that’s going to be one of these new emerging areas, I think, as telemedicine takes off and becomes more common and more prevalent. So particularly out in the rural areas, you know, it’s going to be a big thing to watch. 

“So we’ll have some legislation to try and address that as well, but again, I keep coming back to the same issue that, you know, it really comes down to the election if … the pro-abortion Democrats are allowed to maintain control of the House, we’re kind of stuck on go because we can’t move this important legislation. And they’re never going to allow it in any of the larger bills. So we got to be really active and engaged in this cycle.”

Republicans lost a state House seat in an Alabama district that Trump won in 2020 by an unexpectedly large margin due to their cruel, unpopular support abortion bans and threats to IVF access. 

New York Times: “Democrat Running on Abortion and I.V.F. Access Wins Special Election in Alabama”

Semafor: “The Alabama Democrat flipped a seat in Trump country” 

“Democrats triumphed in yet another special election focused on abortion rights Tuesday night, when Alabama’s Marilyn Lands flipped a Republican state House seat in an unexpectedly lopsided vote.

“Democrats keep over-performing in post-Dobbs special elections, especially when they’re held in suburbs — any suburbs.”

NBC: “Democratic candidate Marilyn Lands on Tuesday won a special election for a state House seat in Alabama after she made in vitro fertilization and abortion rights central to her campaign.

“Lands had 63% of the vote to Powell’s 37% with all precincts reporting.”