Trump’s Own Staffers Are Tanking His Chances in 2024

·4 min read
Photo Illustration by Luis G.Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Luis G.Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

As the Jan. 6 Committee hearings progress, one thing has become painfully clear: many Donald Trump staff members think he should never again be within 10 miles of the White House.

Indeed, the remarkable thing about the Jan. 6 Committee is that, despite being controlled by Democrats, the hearings have largely been narrated by a Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney, with the most damning testimony being provided by people who worked for Trump himself. “For Republicans who are following these hearings, the call is coming from inside the house,” writes FiveThirtyEight’s Kaleigh Rogers.

Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas Documentary Filmmaker for His Unseen Trump Tapes

The latest (and, so far, greatest) call from inside the house has come from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who started out interning at the Trump White House. But other witnesses have ranged from former Trump officials to respected conservative Republicans.

The list includes veteran GOP election attorney Ben Ginsberg, former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, former Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt, conservative former federal judge J. Michael Luttig, Republican officials like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling, and Trump 2020 campaign chief Bill Stepien (he had to cancel his appearance, but the committee played some of his recorded testimony). Likewise, recorded testimony from Ivanka Trump and former Attorney General Bill Barr has also been played.

And on Thursday, the committee subpoenaed Trump’s White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.

Of course, the list of staffers and advisors who have turned on Trump has been growing for years, ranging from loyalists (like Michael Cohen, Omarosa, and former press secretary Stephanie Grisham) to mainstream establishment figures brought in to make the operation more professional (like Barr, Gen. James Mattis, and former National Security Advisor John Bolton) and many staffers in between (like Olivia Troye, Miles Taylor, and Alyssa Farrah).

I don’t think there has ever been a past president who has engendered such little loyalty from his inner circle (yes, I’m counting Richard Nixon). But never mind presidents. How many people have you worked with who think you’re unfit and unstable?

I’m guessing that number does not even approach Trump’s.

The good news, for those of us who can’t fathom another four years of Trump, is that so far—thanks to the way they’ve been conducted—this seems to be slowly making a dent.

Those quixotic few who are still hoping for a dramatic, “Have you no sense of decency?” moment are destined to be disappointed. Instead, what we have seen with a year-long accretion of evidence is an almost glacial movement away from Donald Trump (akin to Homer Simpson disappearing into a bush). Rather than rebuking him, rank and file Republican voters who stray will likely continue to espouse their love for him, even as they move on to someone new (such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis).

The betting markets now favor DeSantis. A recent Granite State poll shows Trump losing narrowly to DeSantis among New Hampshire Republicans. And according to CNBC, “Support from some of the Republican Party’s biggest donors for a 2024 White House run by former President Donald Trump is dwindling, especially after damaging new details of his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, were revealed at a hearing Tuesday by the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

Meanwhile, some observers believe the end of Roe v. Wade will contribute to making Trump obsolete. It seems plausible that this development will contribute to the erosion of Trump’s support, allowing some Republican voters to say, “Great job!” as they give him his gold watch and usher him into retirement.

To be sure, it’s early. Trump has been written off prematurely too many times for me to make that mistake again. But should this trend continue, the Jan. 6 Committee will deserve much of the credit. Likewise, Nancy Pelosi and Democrats will deserve credit for letting Cheney and Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger do most of the talking.

Many of us were disappointed when Pelosi declined to make Justin Amash a House impeachment manager. This time around, the public is watching bonafide Republicans ask bonafide Republicans who worked for Trump to describe just how erratic and criminal his presidency was. That seems to have made a difference.

The public is getting to see why an astonishing number of Republicans who signed up to Make America Great have decided that the best way to do that is to put America First and make sure he’s not the GOP nominee in 2024.

By putting aside their individual need to run the show and hog the spotlight, Democrats on the Jan. 6 committee are embodying a quote Ronald Reagan used to keep on his desk: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

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