Panic Takes Hold Of Republicans As Trump Raves In The oval Office
Congressional Republicans are expressing frustration with how the White House is handling the Democratic charge on impeachment after President Donald Trump had an extended meltdown throughout his summit in the Oval Office with President of Finland, Sauli Niinistro.
During his wild tirade on Wednesday, Trump yelled and menaced reporters. And at seemingly no point did he complete a sentence —fragments only.
Now, extremely nervous Republicans are concerned the administration has suffered from an ineffective, inconsistent message with some going as far as questioning whether the White House has a plan at all for taking on the Democrats.
“Who knows what playbook they are on. Trump’s pulling it out of his ass as he goes along,” one GOP lawmaker said, according to The Hill.
Senior staffers say members have privately taken issue with the lack of central coordination on a plan, even as most Republicans have avoided publicly criticizing Trump or the White House.
“There was frustration at the start since the White House didn’t really have a coordinated effort and that’s been an issue at times,” one leadership aide told The Hill.
Another GOP lawmaker said the party doesn’t “yet have a coherent response. But I think this is currently like every other Trump ‘scandal’ — it might be embarrassing but it isn’t illegal [or] impeachment worthy.”
While the majority of members have remained mum about their grievances with the White House’s response, a handful of prominent Republicans — including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — have voiced a sense of uneasiness with Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani’s embroilment in the Ukraine controversy, arguing his frequent media appearances have caused more harm than good.
Trump’s recent tweet that quoted a pastor saying impeachment could lead to a “Civil War like fracture” provoked a public rebuke from Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who referred to the comment as “beyond repugnant.” And Trump’s attacks on the whistleblower and call to reveal the CIA officer’s identity sparked Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) to publicly come out in defense of enforcing whistleblower protections.
Trump also appeared to be growing frustrated and struggled to control the narrative on impeachment during a press conference on Wednesday, where he engaged in a combative exchange with a reporter after being pressed on why he was seeking information on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son during his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
With the rapid pace of the news cycle surrounding impeachment and the gravity of the consequences it could bring, some argue the White House shouldn’t bear all the blame for the messaging fumbles that have taken place.
“There needs to be a deep sense of what this is about and how to respond. So far, this hasn’t come from any part of the leadership in the party. We have to do better,” one GOP member, who requested anonymity, told The Hill. “This can’t be only Trump defending himself.”
Top Republicans are making a concerted effort to be proactive in crafting a streamlined messaging strategy to combat Democrats’ attacks. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to defend the indefensible.