13 GOP Moderates Under Increased Attacks from Own Party

by Wall Street Rebel | Michael London | 11/11/2021 10:51 AM
13 GOP Moderates Under Increased Attacks from Own Party

To retaliate against their conservative colleagues who supported the infrastructure bill last week, conservative House Republicans are contemplating removing them from committee posts and risking unfavorable publicity as a result of former President Donald Trump's backing.

 

The 13 House Republicans who voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill are being called traitors and are facing primary threats from far-right members for defying their party to assist President Biden in achieving a long-sought legislative success.

They are being attacked by their own party's members of Congress, notably Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Madison Cawthorn (NC), who have labeled them "traitors" who "voted to let President Biden screw America."

Both have said that they would support primary challengers.

Her Twitter account also included the office phone numbers of the 13 Republicans who, in her words, had "given their voting cards to Nancy Pelosi to support Joe Biden's Communist takeover of America via so-called infrastructure."

A barrage of angry and at times threatening phone calls poured into the office of Rep. Fred Upton (MI), one of the 13 Republicans who voted in favor of the infrastructure measure, resulting in his resignation.

Since Greene tweeted out the phone number, a representative for Upton confirmed to The Hill that his office had received more than 1,000 calls, with more than 90 percent of those calls believed to be from persons outside of the area.

During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Upton played audio of a threatening voicemail in which a guy branded the Michigan Republican an "f—-ing piece of crap traitor." Upton aired the tape during his interview with Cooper. 

"I hope you perish," the guy said. "I really wish that everyone in your f—-ing family perishes."

The congressman described the incidents as "pretty unsettling adult language, to say the least," adding that they "really are worrisome and a real, inferior mark in terms of civility throughout the nation as we've seen these situations like this escalate."

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives from California, has not publicly commented on the threats received by Upton's office. No one, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 18 other Republican senators, have publicly attacked the Republican members of Congress. The latter voted in favor of the infrastructure plan.

McCarthy has also come under fire for a photo-manipulated anime video posted by far-right Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), a Greene ally who depicted Gosar killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and swinging swords at President Joe Biden. McCarthy has also come under fire for a photo-manipulated anime video posted by far-right Rep.

Several of the 13 Republicans represent competitive districts. They have bet that claiming credit for assisting in the passage of major infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and broadband networks would pay off with their voters in the long run.

But, in the meantime, they are facing a barrage of criticism from the right for daring to cross party lines in a way that benefits Biden — who a significant number of Republican voters do not believe was legitimately elected as a result of former President Trump's false claims about the election process.

As a result, several of the 13 Republicans voted for the measure before it received 218 votes on the House floor late Friday night, rather than waiting for Democrats to muster the necessary votes on their own.

After a lengthy day of infighting, this provided Democrats with some wiggle space for defections. It also allowed a small number of progressives to vote against it in protest of the party's overall agenda for the year.

Cawthorn has promised to "primary the crap out of" any Republican who votes in favor of the infrastructure legislation.

Greene advocated for their loss in primaries and for the removal of their committee assignments from their positions on the Democratic National Committee.

Greene, who was kicked out of several House committees earlier this year for embracing conspiracy theories and seeming to promote violence against Democrats, went even farther in advocating for the same punishment for Republicans who voted in favor of the legislation.

"Prioritize them and work to establish a better party that serves America," Greene said on Twitter.

Greene and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have directed their ire in particular at Rep. John Katko (NY), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and the top Republican on the committee.

In a statement, Katko, who represents a district in which Biden is expected to win by nine points in 2020, called the legislation "a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation's physical infrastructure" and "a success for Central New York."

Nonetheless, Greene and Gaetz cited Katko's additional votes this year, including his support for impeaching Trump after the Jan. 6 election, his vote to strip Greene of his committee assignments, his vote to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the election, and his vote to hold ex-Trump strategist Stephen Bannon in contempt of Congress, as evidence of what they believe to be a lack of party loyalty on Katko's part.

According to Gaetz, who said in an interview with Newsmax on Monday, "I believe that John Katko, the Republican leader on the Homeland Security Committee, should be fired immediately, as should everyone else who voted for this legislation."

McCarthy's spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday about whether or not the senators supported Greene and Gaetz's initiative.

However, this year, House Republican leaders have refrained from removing members from committees for failing to follow party rules in other ways.

Representatives Liz Cheney (WY) and Adam Kinzinger (IL) of the Republican Party have not been removed from their committee assignments despite accepting an offer from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to participate on a select panel examining the government shutdown on Jan. 6.

Kinzinger, who is not seeking re-election, voted in favor of the infrastructure measure and other bills.

Even though House GOP leaders actively urged their members to oppose the infrastructure bill, removing committee assignments from the 13 members who voted in favor of it would put them in the awkward position of punishing them for taking the same position as McConnell and the other 18 Senate Republicans who backed it in August.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, is also a member of this group.

Last week, McConnell lauded the infrastructure package, calling it a "godsend" for his state, which he said, "has a lot of infrastructural needs."

In the same week that Democrats asked GOP leaders to take action against Gosar, the far-right called for punishing Republicans who voted for the infrastructure measure. The act of making light of the death of a colleague used to arouse widespread anger. But times have changed.

McCarthy's Republican Party, however, is different. Members of McCarthy's Republican Party who voted in favor of infrastructure are being targeted for punishment.

However, according to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), endorsing violence is acceptable, who made the statement on Tuesday.

"It's a sickness."

Kinzinger, who has been more skeptical of his party since voting to impeach President Donald Trump earlier this year, voiced doubt that GOP leaders would criticize Gosar for inciting violence in the name of democracy.