And that raises a question about Trump’s Republican establishment: What does it stand for? How does Trump decide which candidates to endorse or oppose?
His remarks in Wyoming indicate three guiding principles. The first is personal loyalty to Donald J. Trump. Cheney’s cardinal offense, as described by Trump, was “going after your president” for inciting the January 6th attack. Toomey’s offense, similarly, was that “he raised his hand to impeach me” over the insurrection.
Trump’s second principle is defending corruption. In 2009, President George W. Bush refused to pardon Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, who had been convicted of perjury. Bush concluded that Libby had lied to prosecutors and that it would be wrong to let him off the hook. Trump, who had no such scruples, pardoned Libby nine years later. On Saturday, at the Wyoming rally, Trump scorned Bush for failing to use the pardon power to pay back Libby, whom Trump described as the Bush administration’s “protector.”
Third, Trump doesn’t cotton to people—such as Cheney—who oppose Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Instead he defends candidates such as J.D. Vance, Madison Cawthorn, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spout Russian propaganda and oppose military aid to Ukraine.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member