Former AG Bill Barr Wants Republicans To ‘Move On’ From Trump, Blames Him For Capitol Riot

Attorney General William “Bill” Barr appears to have broken totally with his former boss, if reports about his upcoming memoir are accurate.

In the book, Barr reportedly claims President Trump “lost his grip” and was exhibiting erratic behavior in the final days of his first term, blaming him for the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

Barr made the comments, according to a Wall Street Journal review, in his upcoming book “One Damn Thing After Another.”

“The election was not ‘stolen,’ Trump lost it,” he writes, urging the Republican party to move on from the former President and his “erratic personal behavior” in 2024.

The book is set to be released on March 8th.

The publisher promises a “candid account” of Barr’s two stints as attorney general – under Trump and once under President George H.W. Bush – and will demonstrate “how both men viewed power and justice at critical junctures of their presidencies.”

RELATED: Flashback: Trump Slammed NATO Leaders For Being ‘Totally Controlled’ By Russia

Barr Says Riot Was Trump’s Fault

Delving further into his book, Barr echoes sentiments expressed by other ‘Never Trumpers’ such as Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), implying that the Capitol riot in 2021 was Trump’s fault.

Barr suggests Trump lost his grip on reality after losing to Joe Biden in the election.

“The absurd lengths to which he took his ‘stolen election’ claim led to the rioting on Capitol Hill,” he claimed.

An odd statement considering anybody who watched Hillary Clinton’s reaction after losing to Trump in 2016 knows that ‘stolen election’ claims, inaccurate or otherwise, have been around for quite some time.

Barr has reportedly spoken to the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot according to chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

“We’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Thompson revealed in an interview last month.

RELATED: Mainstream Media Claims Trump Heaped Praise On Putin – But Did He?

Democrats Wanted Barr Impeached

Barr accused Trump’s inner circle of feeding him misinformation about the election.

“He stopped listening to his advisers, became manic and unreasonable, and was off the rails,” Barr reportedly writes.

“He surrounded himself with sycophants, including many whack jobs from outside the government, who fed him a steady diet of comforting but unsupported conspiracy theories.”

Barr, you may recall, was the subject of his own impeachment calls by Democrats for his alleged role in clearing out rioters in the summer of 2020.

In a formal impeachment resolution, House Democrat Steve Cohen (TN) accused him of having “undermined the rule of law, abused his power, obstructed justice [and] violated the first amendment.”

Cohen took exception to the former attorney general’s alleged role in a decision to remove rioters from Lafayette Square during a protest last in June of 2020.

The resolution to investigate and consider the impeachment of Barr had 35 Democrat co-sponsors.

Barr was accused of helping clear out protesters at Lafayette Park so Trump could get a Bible photo-op.

An Interior Department report published this past June shows police never cleared the protesters for that reason, as was often reported by the mainstream media.

The report by the department’s Inspector General indicates federal police officers cleared the park instead so a contractor could install fencing.

“That finding … is likely to surprise many critics of Trump, who have long asserted that the president or his attorney general ordered the operation to pave the way for an act of political theater,” NBC News reported.

False narratives have ensnared Barr himself in the past. You’d think he’d have a bit of self-awareness.

“Donald Trump has shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed,” Barr also wrote in his memoir.

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Democrat Swalwell Claims If Trump Were President He’d Be ‘Sending Weapons To Russia’

Representative Eric Swalwell accused former President Trump of “rooting” for Russia in their war effort against Ukraine and alleged if he were still in office, the former President would be running arms to Vladimir Putin.

Swalwell made the comments on social media.

The California Democrat roped Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo into his criticism of those he alleges are ‘pro-Russia.’

“Do not let Republicans rewrite whose side they were on before Russia attacked Ukraine. Led by Trump/Tucker/Pompeo many were rooting for Russia,” he wrote. “Let’s be real: if Trump was president we’d be sending weapons to Russia.”

RELATED: Flashback: Trump Slammed NATO Leaders For Being ‘Totally Controlled’ By Russia

Swalwell Took Donations From Russia ‘Putin Pipeline’ Lobbyist

Swalwell accusing Republicans of being cozy with Russia may be a bit of projection on the congressman’s part.

The Washington Free Beacon reports that Swalwell’s campaign received a $2,900 donation in 2018 and a $5,400 donation to his campaign in 2018 from Vincent Roberti Sr., who chairs the group Roberti Global.

Roberti is reportedly a top lobbyist for Nord Stream 2 AG, the group behind the Russian pipeline at the center of European politics and which President Biden recently sanctioned after that country invaded Ukraine.

Senate Democrats just last month defended Nord Stream 2 by rejecting an effort by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to impose sanctions related to the Russian-German natural gas pipeline before Biden had to relent after the invasion.

RELATED: CNN Journalists Dust Off ‘Russian Collusion’ Claims To Blame Trump For Putin Invading Ukraine

Trump Sent Weapons to Ukraine

ABC News reported in October of 2019 that President Trump had approved the sale of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.

His administration first approved the sale of $47 million worth of 210 Javelin missiles and 37 launchers to Ukraine in December 2017.

The Washington Post reports that the weapons were more of a “strategic deterrent” to Russia.

Trump later froze $400 million in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine after a phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

That phone call later became the focus of a successful impeachment effort against Trump.

The former President later released the military aid.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko went to Washington in 2014, when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were in office, and pleaded his case for weapons to defend his country. 

He declared at the time “one cannot win a war with blankets.”

Following his speech, The Wall Street Journal reported that “President Barack Obama stuck to his refusal to provide weapons or other lethal military gear to Ukraine.”

Trump has insisted that the Russian invasion of Ukraine would not have happened if he were President.

“This should have never happened. This would not have happened during my administration,” he said. “It’s a sad thing for the world and the country and a lot of people that will be needlessly killed.”

A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans – 62% – agree that Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump were President. 

Swalwell recently suggested “kicking every Russian student out of the United States” as a means of retaliating against Putin, something that had it been suggested by a Republican would have resulted in charges of xenophobia.

The post Democrat Swalwell Claims If Trump Were President He’d Be ‘Sending Weapons To Russia’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

Never-Trumpers Will Gather In D.C. This Week To Discuss 2024 Presidential Race

In their ongoing attempt to sabotage former President Trump, a group of Never Trump Republicans will gather this week in Washington D.C. The meeting will be part cheerleading session for Jan. 6 Committee members Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and discussion of a possible viable Never Trump presidential candidate in 2024.

The conference is entitled, “Principles First: The Summit,” and also will include a show of support for several state officials who refused to allow any investigation into possible election fraud.

RELATED: Is She Getting Ready To Switch Parties? Tulsi Gabbard Will Give Headline Speech At CPAC

Interesting Timing

The timing for the Never Trump Summit is interesting. It will fall on the same week as the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. The gathering is the biggest annual conference of conservative personalities and activists.

Republican attorney and founder of Principles For America, the organization hosting the event, Heath Mayo says that the timing of the two events would “certainly be counterprogramming of CPAC.”

He continued,

“We want to come together in a visual show of support for people who have taken stands for ideas when it hasn’t been comfortable. You don’t see those folks, yet, in rooms that are energized. But I think the energy is there. We’ll see how many folks show up.”

Speakers for the “Principles First Summit” is a list of the usual Never-Trump suspects.

In addition to Cheney and Kinzinger, speakers will include, GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, and some new additions to the Never Trump club, Capitol Hill Officer Harry Dunn and retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

RELATED: Capitol Police Reinstall Fencing As American ‘Freedom Convoy’ Heads To Washington

Other Topics

Another item on the Principles First agenda is sure to be the recent censure of Cheney and Kinzinger by the Republican National Committee. Both were censured for their roles as members of the Jan. 6 Committee.

For some members of the RNC, censure did not go far enough. They pushed for full expulsion from the House GOP Caucus. But karma may soon be catching up to both Cheney and Kinzinger.

As congressional district lines are being redrawn, Kinzinger’s district is being eliminated and has opted for retirement rather than run against another GOP incumbent for the new district seat.

RELATED: Bill Maher: School Mask Mandates ‘Creating A Generation’ Of ‘Germ-Paranoid’ Kids 

Liz Cheney Also Has Problems

Liz Cheney has her own unique set of problems since she voted for impeachment. In addition the the RNC censure, in November, the Wyoming GOP voted to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican.

In January, Cheney’s primary opponent Harriet Hageman trounced Cheney in a Wyoming GOP straw poll, and recently, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy officially endorsed Hageman for the Wyoming GOP primary. Last spring, Cheney was ousted from her position as GOP conference chair.

Heath Mayo remains confident that the Principles First Summit will draw a crowd.

“I believe there is a lane here for 2024. The party is completely stuck in a rut talking about if the last election is legitimate and if Liz Cheney, [Maryland Governor Larry] Hogan, or someone else is compelling and wants to run, I think a lot of people would listen.”

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GOP senators steer clear of Trump as rift deepens

The Breakers resort is about 3 miles from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. When more than 20 Republican senators headed there last weekend, though, only three attended an event with Donald Trump.

And some say they steered clear of the former president intentionally as they raised money to take back the Senate.

“People appreciate his input. But I think a lot of people see a lot of other opportunities elsewhere for 2024,” said one Senate Republican, who was granted anonymity to describe the intraparty dynamics.

“And so while he has a role to play, I think a lot of people are tired of looking backwards and they want to look forward,” the senator added. “So, I did not go see him.”

Many GOP senators still speak regularly with Trump as he asserts outsized influence in party primaries and this fall’s battle for control of the chamber. In fact, most Republicans are still hesitant to say anything on the record that might put them in the crosshairs of their presumed 2024 frontrunner — which explains the reluctance to address why they decided not to see him in the Sunshine State.

Some Republicans who traveled to Florida for the National Republican Senatorial Committee event said they weren’t snubbing Trump, who has pushed in vain to depose Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and would be visiting with him soon. And several wouldn’t be welcome, since some senators who voted to convict the president at his second impeachment trial were among those wooing donors at the NRSC events.

But other Republicans said hanging out with their onetime commander-in-chief is the furthest thing from their minds.

“I went down there to meet with National Republican Senatorial Committee supporters and honestly never even gave it a thought,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), whom Trump has called a “jerk” for saying the 2020 election was fairly decided.

“Our focus is on winning this cycle and then winning the presidency back. And to go back in and to try to rehash 2020 is not what we’re doing,” Rounds added. “We’re focused on bringing the party together, to bring the rank-and-file members who had questions back in, so that they feel we’re being honest with them and we’re providing a sense of integrity.”

Rounds is one of a handful of members speaking more freely in a 50-member Senate GOP that’s now at a crossroads, especially compared to the far more Trump-friendly House Republicans. Led by McConnell, who’s single-mindedly focused on taking back the Senate, Republicans are yet again treading carefully with Trump — and, in some cases, quietly tiptoeing away from him.

Senate Republicans want his supporters and don’t want to fight with him. But they want the midterms to be a simple referendum on President Joe Biden’s leadership — not on whether the party of Trump will rise again or whether the election was rigged.

A Trump spokesperson made clear there’s no love lost between the president and some quarters of the Senate GOP.

“Nothing screams ‘RINO Loser’ louder than a couple career politicians anonymously claiming to ‘snub’ the most popular Republican in America at a sold out event. Who cares?” said Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich.

Trump has made no secret of his frustrations with McConnell — whom he calls the “Old Crow” — as well as other various senators from his own party. And advisers to the former president say he has made clear he wants to usher in a new crop of GOP senators who wouldn’t thwart a MAGA agenda should he become president again. But his desire to reward loyalty with endorsements and support has, in some instances, worked against Senate leadership’s designs to win back the majority with viable candidates.

“It speaks volumes about how McConnell is trying to keep his caucus in line, so these senators are caught between a rock and a hard place,” said one former Trump adviser, granted anonymity to speak frankly. “I don’t think [Trump] necessarily cares. I think the main thing he cares about is that the candidates he’s endorsed do well. That’s what he’s focusing on and then in 2022, having a good record.”

Republican senators observed the public sentiment is moving away from Trump at the edges of the party — but not in the base. That makes the relationship with the former president tricky, particularly in a Senate Republican conference that ranges from Never Trump Republicans to diehard supporters.

“The polling shows that there’s been a little [dip]. But he represents, especially, the bloc of base voters who are anti-establishment. And I don’t think there’s been any loss among them," said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), who did not attend fundraising events in Florida over the weekend.

The group of senators invited to the NRSC event at The Breakers ranged from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who voted to convict the president of inciting an insurrection, to Trump stalwarts such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The Trump event happened on Friday afternoon, before the NRSC program officially began, so senators may have had scheduling conflicts.

But some Republicans said they had a very clear takeaway about an event they believed would have welcomed far more than the trio of Republicans that attended.

“Over 20 senators down there. ... They had an event at the property with the president attending, and only three went. I guess you can draw your own conclusions,” said a second Senate Republican who went to Florida and was granted anonymity. “Everybody can draw their own interpretations but certainly, given the number of people down there, you can’t argue it was a really well attended event.”

NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) were the three senators that did an event with Trump. Daines said the confab was an “intimate” roundtable and described it as a “great event.”

Cruz, another attendee at The Breakers, said he would visit Trump next week on his own. And Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said things are “all good” with Trump, whom he saw briefly on the links.

“I just didn’t have time to go over there. But I saw him at the golf course,” Tuberville said. “He’s doing a good job of raising money, I know that. Everything is positive.”

Scott has made managing the relationship with Trump a central part of his job directing the Senate GOP’s campaign arm. He has to balance the president’s own endorsement with McConnell’s focus on not nominating candidates that could lose a general election. It’s certainly possible that this year’s elections add more Trump-friendly senators to the GOP, and that the current crop of Republicans will look a lot different when GOP senators including Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Richard Burr of North Carolina retire at the end of the year.

One Trump adviser mocked the idea that some Republican senators would go out of their way to avoid the former president. “Oh yeah, these Senate Republicans, who are all vastly less popular than Trump wouldn't stop by,” the adviser said. “So, yeah, I'm sure Trump was so upset that John Thune didn't stroll over and say hi. You guys really got him."

A number of Senate Republicans said enthusiasm isn’t particularly high in their conference to talk about Trump or to visit with him. Asked why he didn’t talk to Trump while in Florida, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) jokingly implored another reporter to “save me” from the inquisition.

“I hadn’t thought about it. But I was down there,” Shelby said of visiting with Trump. “I know what you’re getting at.”

Posted in Uncategorized

2016 Electoral College Objector Democrat Raskin Says GOP ‘Operates Like An Authoritarian Political-Religious Cult’

On Tuesday, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin – one of the impeachment managers against former President Donald Trump – called the GOP “an authoritarian political-religious cult.”

Raskin, who objected to certifying the electoral college after Trump’s win in 2016, made his remarks during an interview on MSNBC’s program “All In.” 

RELATED: Trump Accuses Clinton Campaign Of Treason Following Reports They Paid To ‘Infiltrate’ White House Servers In Attempt To Link Him To Russia

‘Authoritarian Political-Religious Cult’

Ironically speaking on a segment about certifying the 2020 election results, MSNBC host Chris Hayes said, “There are hundreds of elected Republicans across the states and a relatively small amount that were actively plotting along with the president’s coup, as far as we know.”

Raskin replied, “That’s right, and there were people who deliberately defied him, like secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in Georgia. There were dozens of election officials who refused to just nullify and vaporize the actual votes of the election.”

Raskin then said that he believes Trump has a cult-like hold over his party.

“What’s interesting, though, is that Donald Trump has only consolidated his control over the GOP, which now operates like an authoritarian political-religious cult,” the Democrat insisted.

“The people who said no to him are being systematically opposed and purged by his party,” Raskin added. 

The Democrat believes Republicans now operate outside the bounds of the U.S. Constitution.

“So you’ve got an entire political party which has positioned itself outside of the constitutional order, which is attacking the outcome of our elections and our basic constitutional processes.”

RELATED: Newspaper Editorial Blames Right-Wing Rhetoric For Assassination Attempt On Louisville Mayoral Candidate After BLM Activist Was Charged

Raskin Objected To 2016 Certification

Raskin objected to certifying the electoral college in 2016, claiming that some Florida electors “were not lawfully certified.”

He was immediately gaveled down by none other than then-Vice President Joe Biden.


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Fox News’ Jesse Watters Compares Hillary Clinton To OJ Simpson: She ‘Should Be Banished From Polite Society’

On Monday, Fox News Jesse Watters said that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is comparable to OJ Simpson and that the former secretary of state “should be banished from polite society.”

Watters made his remarks during a discussion on the program “The Five.”

RELATED: What Did Clinton Know And When Did She Know It? The Russiagate Evidence Builds

Watters: ‘I think Hillary should be banished from polite society’

Watters was reacting to recent court filings from special counsel John Durham that showed Clinton’s role in trying to tie former President Donald Trump to the Russians during the 2016 election.

Not only Trump’s campaign was monitored, but also the new Republican administration after he entered the White House.

Co-host Dana Perino said that Durham’s investigation appeared to be picking up steam with more cooperating witnesses, saying “It sort of means to me that people just don’t want to go to jail so they start talking.”

“I think Hillary should be banished from polite society,” Watters shot back. “I’m not comparing her to O.J., because, you know, we have no proof that she ever murdered anybody, but I would like to see Hillary treated the way O.J. is.”

“He’s not really welcome places, he’s kind of a pariah,” Watters said.

“Right now she is a certified political criminal,” Watters continued. “Her husband has been #metooed and has been finger to be on Epstein’s island and you know the Foundation, that’s just like a washed up money laundering operation.”

You can see the The Five’s discussion about it here:

RELATED: Trump Blasts Media For Not Covering Alleged Clinton Spying, Calls It ‘The Beginning Of Communism’

Watters Describes What He Thinks Happened

Watters then described what he thinks happened based on Durham’s court filings.

Watters said, “This is what happened. She paid people to hack into Trump’s computers and frame him for being a Russian traitor! That would be like paying someone to break into Trump Tower at 2:00 in the morning, plant a bunch of guns and drugs and Russian documents and then call the FBI and say hey guys, I got a tip, why don’t you go raid the tower. That’s the same thing.”

“And we now know too that this was happening as far back as 2014,” Watters continued. “The CIA knew Crooked was trying to frame him, they briefed Obama that Hillary was going to frame him.”

Watters starts taking about Hillary at the 1:07 minute mark:

He went on, “They briefed the FBI that this was a frame job so Mueller was just a clean-up operation to tee up the impeachment.

“And it failed,” Watters added.

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Fox News ‘legal analyst’ forgets the United States jailed Martin Luther King Jr.—dozens of times

Fox News continues its attempts to generate chaos in the United States by reporting on the U.S.-anti-vaxxer-funded trucker protests in Canada. If that sentence sounds convoluted that’s because the concept it is trying to synthesize is hogwash. What has been a relatively small protest by right-wing extremists against public health mandates has been blown so far out of proportion by the Fox News propaganda machine that one wonders if Fox News has more than a little “investment” in it.

On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would be invoking the powers granted to him under the country’s Emergencies Act to try and bring an end to the protests, saying, "The blockades are harming our economy and endangering public safety. We cannot and will not allow illegal and dangerous activities to continue." 

On Tuesday, during one of the hate orgies of make-believe Fox News calls a show, “legal analyst” Jonathan Turley was brought on to speak about Trudeau’s announcement. It was … something to hear.

Turley began by saying the move to use emergency powers was “quite excessive.” Then, without a smirk, without even a smidgen of self-conscious reflection on what a true sociopath he sounds like, Jonathan Turley said this: "By this rationale, they could have cracked down on the civil rights movement. They could have arrested Martin Luther King."

Fox News legal analyst Jonathan Turley, on Canada PM Justin Trudeau invoking emergency powers to deal with the "Freedom Convoy" blockade: "By this rationale, they could have cracked down on the Civil Rights movement. They could have arrested Martin Luther King."

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 15, 2022

That’s an amazing statement coming from the media outlet that truly hates Black civil disobedience (see: Black Lives Matter protests). It’s also deeply offensive, since it is complete make-believe. 

For one, one of the most famous essays written in American history was written in a Birmingham, Alabama, jail on April 16, 1963—by Martin Luther King Jr. In fact, Martin Luther King Jr. was in jail for “demonstrating without a permit.” He had been in jail for four days before he wrote his essay. Unlike the Canadian trucker convoy, King’s law-breaking had to do with a racist judge, in a racist state, saying that Black people couldn’t hold a protest.

If Jonathan Turley wants to speak to the history of “excessive” use and abuse of state powers, Turley need only look to the at least 28 other times Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and jailed. has some of America’s lowlights:

January 26, 1956 -- He was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama as part of a “Get Tough” campaign to intimidate the bus boycotters. Four days later, on January 30, his home was bombed.

March 22, 1956 -- King, Rosa Parks and more than 100 others were arrested on charges of organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott in protest of Parks' treatment.

September 3, 1958 -- While attempting to attend the arraignment of a man accused of assaulting Abernathy, King is arrested outside Montgomery’s Recorder’s Court and charged with loitering. He is released a short time later on $100 bond.


October 19, 1960 -- He was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia during a sit-in while waiting to be served at a restaurant. He was sentenced to four months in jail, but after intervention by then presidential candidate John Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, he was released.


July 27, 1962 -- He was arrested again and jailed for holding a prayer vigil in Albany, Georgia.


February 2, 1965 -- He was arrested in Selma, Alabama during a voting rights demonstration, but the demonstrations continued leading to demonstrators being beaten at the Pettus Bridge by state highway patrolmen and sheriff’s deputies.

Those ellipses above skip over other frivolous arrests of a man fighting for the right to be treated like a person, not a bunch of dunderheads who want the right to be shitheads because they’re afraid of medicine.

Here’s a fun response.

Fox News analysts already reaping the benefits of banning books, I see

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2022

Stefanik starts quieting her doubters as House GOP messaging chief

The House GOP's messaging chief is starting to win over her doubters on the right by taking a different approach from her predecessors: directing rank-and-file members to conservative media outlets.

Since Rep. Elise Stefanik took over as House Republican Conference chair after Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster, she's made a point to prioritize the megaphones of the party's base. Stefanik has hosted multiple events and press calls over the past few months that have cherry-picked attendance lists.

She holds weekly streamed news conferences, alongside colleagues, but her office at times restricts others' invitations solely to conservative media, even excluding certain reporters from outlets whose coverage has miffed them. In one case, a media call focused on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection featured a host of GOP-friendly presences, including former Speaker Newt Gingrich — now a Fox News pundit — as well as reporters from outlets such as Newsmax and the Daily Caller.

Her handling of the role is paying off with some of the same conservatives who were hesitant about her initial bid for the conference's No. 3 post, given her centrist background before becoming a Donald Trump ally during his first impeachment trial.

“She has been good. She's been fair,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), a member of the House Freedom Caucus. “I didn't vote for her, but she’s done well.”

Other colleagues, including senior Republicans, said they weren’t aware of Stefanik's recent shift.

During a leadership retreat earlier this year in Florida, Stefanik chastised the “mainstream media” and encouraged members to talk more to conservative press, an urging that irritated some members who felt that goal undercut the value of speaking to a broader group of people, according to two Republicans in attendance.

She’s privately argued that Fox News has nearly the same viewership rates of CNN and MSNBC combined in her effort to promote the Republican-friendly station, according to those Republicans, as well as encouraging members to join right-wing social media sites such as GETTR to protest conservative claims of censorship by other platforms.

POLITICO is one of several outlets that has been excluded from media events in the last three months, alongside CNN. No explanation was given for the exclusion.

Stefanik's office declined to provide comment addressing the office's limitation of events to certain conservative media outlets.

She is hardly the first House GOP leader to lean into the party’s pro-Trump wing, but Stefanik's approach to conference messaging is notable given the conservative skepticism that greeted her initial leadership bid, and her encouragement to rank-and-file members to follow suit. On the conference’s right flank, uncertainty about elevating a New Yorker once known for a more centrist voting record has been evaporating.

“I think she's doing a good job with the messaging for the conference,” said freshman Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), another member of the Freedom Caucus. “If I had any concerns, I would be voicing those with the conference, and I haven't directed any concerns to Elise relative to her responsibilities.”

Still, not everyone is sold.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), another member of the Freedom Caucus, threw his support behind Republican Study Chair Jim Banks (R-Ind.) as a future conference chair.

“I think who's really stood out to me lately on messaging is Jim Banks as RSC chair and in a way, the Republican Study Committee does a lot of the work that the conference in theory does. It's just a deeper dive,” Davidson said in an interview.

During her bid to replace Cheney, many House Republicans — whose ranks are predominantly white and male — privately said it was important to keep a woman in leadership. GOP leaders quickly rallied behind Stefanik, an ally of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and she pledged to vote with the general consensus of the conference. Stefanik had already attracted built-in support through her initiatives to elect more Republican women.

As she pursued a leadership spot, she sought to appease early doubters in the party's pro-Trump wing by telling colleagues she’d serve only one term as the head of conference messaging — while leaving the door open to running for another role. To some fellow Republicans, Stefanik expressed interest in serving as the party's top member on the House Education and Labor Committee come 2023.

But now, it’s unclear if Stefanik will stick to that game plan. Some colleagues believe she wants the whip position instead next Congress — that is, if Republicans win the majority and the job comes open as McCarthy ascends to speaker.

Davidson said he’d be surprised if Stefanik sought the conference chair or another role in leadership: “I'm positive that Elise was not disingenuous when she said she was planning to seek the [committee] chairmanship, so that'd be surprising for me to see her change her mind. … Last time I talked with Elise, she was planning on becoming chairwoman of Ed and Labor.”

Ali Black, a Stefanik spokesperson, said the New York Republican is “100 percent laser-focused” on serving as Republican Conference chair.

“Everyone who knows Elise — especially her constituents — know that she never takes an election for granted and always, always runs through the tape instead of measuring the drapes,” Black added.

Stefanik’s rightward move came with ample political rationale. Various Republicans have seen their stars rise in the party after hitching their wagons to Trumpism, which tends to involve more courtship of conservative media.

One case in point, former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), was considered a moderate before Trump but pivoted dramatically after becoming an early ally of the former president. The one-time House Intelligence chair cut off communications with much of the press corps during the first year of the Russia investigation, particularly after receiving negative coverage over his handling of sensitive topics under the committee’s purview.

For years afterward, Nunes would decline to speak to mainstream media, sometimes claiming that he wouldn’t discuss committee business despite frequent appearances on Fox News and other conservative news outlets.

By the time he exited Congress, however, the California Republican — whom Stefanik served under on the committee — got more clear when he refused interviews: He would only talk to conservative press, he'd say.

Stefanik, however, is in a different position than Nunes as chief of messaging for the conference — one that exposes her to more scrutiny. Last month she criticized Speaker Nancy Pelosi for limiting reporters’ access to members; Stefanik offered that reply after getting pressed about her use of proxy voting, which the GOP generally opposes despite its members’ frequent use of it.

And she’s exhibited some growing pains while taking a more conservative tack, both before and after becoming conference chair.

Stefanik last week dropped her support for what's known as the Fairness For All bill, a GOP compromise effort to balance LGBTQ rights with exceptions for religious freedom. She is the highest-ranking of the three Republicans who have pulled their names from the legislation, a decision that raised some eyebrows within the conference.

That follows Stefanik's reversal last Congress on the Equality Act — which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, a push that the Fairness For All bill also attempts to tackle.

She had previously taken a handful of high-profile votes against Trump, siding with a small group of Republicans to terminate his controversial emergency declaration aimed at funding a proposed border wall. Trump allies' biggest concern with her past record, according to some of her colleagues, is her vote against the 2017 Republican tax cuts.

Nonetheless, this Congress Stefanik has received Trump’s endorsement to join House GOP leadership and shared the stage with him as a loyal supporter.

Posted in Uncategorized