Donald J. Trump hasn’t been president for almost ten months now, and it’ll be a good while before he could even possibly be re-elected. That hasn’t stopped him from holding what is almost certainly his favorite activity: rallies, in which he rants and rambles for 90 minutes or so to adoring fans who thrill to his petty grievances. But at his latest hoedown on Saturday night, he may have pissed off the wrong people: Republicans.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein, Trump descended upon Perry, Georgia, ostensibly to pitch a trio of loyalists he prefers to the Republicans in charge. But as his style, he spent most of the time on the attack. He lambasted some of his favorite arch-nemeses in Georgia’s Republican party: Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and, of course, Governor Brian Kemp. But he may have gone too far, even for the party over which he still holds sway.
"Of course, having her I think might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know the truth" — Trump on the relative merits of Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp pic.twitter.com/KrppCdCHAJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 26, 2021
Trump was complaining about how Stacey Abrams didn’t concede her gubernatorial loss in 2018 right away. (Though, unlike some people, she did eventually.) Being Trump, he couldn’t help but slip in a ancillary dig at another enemy.
“Of course, having her I think might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know the truth,” Trump told the crowd. Usually a Trump crowd will cheer for anything, but the reaction was much more mixed. There were some boos, some gasps, but no sustained applause. He later returned to the subject. “Stacey, would you like to take his place?” he said, with a nod to Kemp. “It’s OK with me.”
According to Bluestein, this made Republican officials hopping mad. Without naming names, he claimed he was being bombarded with texts effectively saying Trump was torpedoing his own party. They told him things like, “What a s*it show,” “We have reached a new low,” and “I am just so mad — beyond words.”
The texts I’m getting from Republican officials: “What a shit show.” “We have reached a new low.” “I am just so mad — beyond words.” Then there’s this from a former GOP legislator: #gapol https://t.co/QwLPAiuVkj
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) September 26, 2021
Bluestein also mentioned that a top official affiliated with Raffensperger said, “Democrats will win 2022 general in a landslide if a Trump endorsed candidate makes it through the primary.”
Mind you, this is just Georgia, whose Republicans have been standing up to Trump since the 2020 election, refusing to do his bidding, even after he all but made them household names amongst his hopped-up base. But it could signal an ever-growing gap in the party, which has either stuck by Trump’s side or, in more cases, simply stayed silent as he unleashed his wrath.
Meanwhile at the same rally, Trump said something even more dastardly: He talked about the months-long audit of Arizona’s ballots, which was conducted by Trump loyalists and which not only restated that Biden won the state, but that Biden won even more votes than previously thought. And he openly lied by claiming he’d won. The crowd, of course, ate it up.