World Lindsey Graham’s latest Fox News appearance highlighted the GOP’s identity crisis
Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs Tonight
Lou Dobbs Tonight will air for the final time on Friday night as Fox News is reported to be parting ways with the 75-year-old host who is among the network's staunchest Trump supporters.Dobbs, 75, is the network's staunchest supporter of Donald Trump and consistently pushed the former President's claims of voter fraud on air, and assertions that he was won the 2020 election.
Two very different interviews on the Sunday morning news shows illustrated the Republican Party’s post-Trump impeachment acquittal identity crisis.
With Trump now out of office, banned from social media, and fresh off a trial in which a bipartisan majority of senators voted for his conviction, the Republican Party is polarized.
Some Republicans want to try to finally push the party past Trumpism and its anti-democratic impulses, while others — perhaps more mindful of— are using his acquittal as an occasion to wrap their arms more tightly around him.
Sunday, the anti-Trump faction was represented Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). After four years of loyalty to Trump, Cassidy somewhat surprisingly joined six other Republican senators on Saturday and voted foraccusing him of inciting the January 6 insurrection. And while Cassidy has already been for crossing the former president, he indicated during an interview on ABC’s This Week that he has no regrets.
Fox Business abruptly canceled Lou Dobbs Tonight
The network ends its highest-rated show after a voting software company names Dobbs in a defamation lawsuit.The cancelation, reported by the LA Times on Friday, comes just one day after voting software company Smartmatic filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox Corporation, Fox News, and three Fox anchors — including Lou Dobbs — over false claims that their technology was used to commit voter fraud.
“I think I may already represent a majority view,” Cassidy said, downplaying the censure. “I have voted to support and defend the Constitution ... the Republican Party is more than just one person.”
Despite already being censured by the LAGOP, Sen. Cassidy (R) says he has no regrets about voting for Trump's conviction: "I may already represent a majority view ... [but] I have voted to support and defend the Constitution ... the Republican Party is more than just one person."— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)
On the pro-Trump side stands Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham, of course, was one of Trump’s most loyal supporters during his time in office, but that momentarily changed following the January 6 insurrection when Graham gave a speech distancing himself from Trump.
Trump Loyalist Lou Dobbs 'Sometimes Went Too Far,' Says Fox News' Howard Kurtz
Fox cancelled Dobbs' long-running talk show after the host was implicated in a defamation lawsuit filed by voting technology company Smartmatic last week.Lou Dobbs has hosted programs for more than four decades, initially presenting the talk show Moneyline on CNN before shifting to Fox Business almost 10 years ago. An unwavering supporter of former president Donald Trump, the political commentator hosted Lou Dobbs Tonight each evening on Fox. His segments focused on political and financial affairs.
“Count me out. Enough is enough.” Graham.
Graham quickly had second thoughts about this stance, traveling with Trump during his last trip as president and shamelessly defending Trump on TV.
Lindsey Graham is on Fox News trying to blame Nancy Pelosi for the Capitol riot— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)
If Graham’s Sunday morning appearance on Fox News Sunday is indication, his loyalty to the former president is stronger than ever.
“Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party,” Graham said, distancing himself from Nikki Haley’sabout Trump not having a future in the GOP. “The Trump movement is alive and well ... all I can say is the most potent force in the Republican Party is President Trump.”
Those comments came at the end of an interview that began with Graham suggesting Republicans will go as far as to retaliate for Trump’s second impeachment by impeaching Vice President Kamala Harris if the take back the House next year.
Adam Kinzinger Blasts Marjorie Taylor Greene for Attacking GOP Colleague Over Trial Witnesses
After a delay, an agreement was reached to not call witnesses in former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.Later, following an agreement, both the House prosecution and Trump's defense team opted not to bring in witnesses.
Lindsey Graham suggests Kamala Harris will be impeached if Republicans take back the House next year— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar)
Both Cassidy and Graham were comfortably reelected for fresh six-year terms last November, but each lawmaker is using his mandate differently at a moment when principles and politics are at tension in the GOP.
Cassidy is using his job security to distance himself from a president he views as violating his oath of office, but Graham seems to be calculating that Trumpism represents the Republican Party’s best bet to retake one or both chambers of Congress next year.
That was apparent toward the end of Graham’s latest Fox News interview, when he basically endorsed Lara Trump — Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law — to fill a North Carolina US Senate being vacated by Sen. Richard Burr, who somewhat surprisingly joined Cassidy in the camp of former Trump loyalists who voted to convict Trump.
“North Carolina, the biggest winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Graham said. “My dear friend Richard Burr, who I like and have been friend to a long time, just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs. And I certain will be behind her if she runs, because I think she represents the future of the Republican Party.”
Graham while criticising Trump's impeachment trial: 'I don't know how Kamala Harris doesn't get impeached if the Republicans take over the House'
Lindsey Graham suggested that Kamala Harris could be impeached by a future GOP-controlled House. "We've opened Pandora's box to future presidents," he said.During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Graham harshly criticised the trial record, calling it a "joke," before pivoting to Harris, a former US senator for California who has been in her new position for less than a month.
A third Republican — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump — made a case on CNN Sunday morning that Cassidy’s stand should represent the future of the party..
“I think the final chapter and Donald Trump and where the Republican Party goes hasn’t been written yet, and I think we’re going to have a real battle for the soul of the Republican Party over the next couple of years,” Hogan said. “Are we gonna be a party that can’t win national elections again, that loses the presidency, the House and the Senate in a four year period?”
"We're going to have a real battle for the soul of the Republican Party."
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tells CNN's— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) he thinks the final chapter of Donald Trump and where the Republican Party goes hasn't been written yet.
Hogan is right to point out that the two election cycles following Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton saw Republicans losing power in that way that often served as a rebuke of Trumpism’s broader appeal. But the former president remains very popular with the GOP base — polling conducted just before the impeachment trial found Trump’s approval rating among Republicans.
So while Cassidy’s stand for democracy is commendable, and Hogan’s optimism notable, it’s an open question whether there’s a place for people like them within a party so complicit in Trump’s authoritarian attempt.
Trump to Give First Big Speech Since Presidency at Conservative Conference in Florida .
The former president will make his first major public appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, February 28.Trump will speak on Sunday afternoon, the final day of the conference, which will run from February 25 to February 28, the conference organizer confirmed to Newsweek on Saturday.