Gaetz: Establishment GOP working hard to take party away from Trump-inspired ‘America First wing’
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said Sunday that the GOP was now solidly a pro-President Donald Trump party, and that rank-and-file voters have no interest in going back to “losing politely” with so-called “establishment” candidates.
In an interview with Fox News’ Steve Hilton, Gaetz responded to the host’s monologue in which he said Republicans appear divided and more focused on attacking each other than President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party’s policies.
“After the ‘Art of the Deal’ comes the art of the comeback,” Gaetz, in reference to a book by the former president, said as he began his response. “I believe the future of the GOP is another candidacy for President Trump in 2024.”
Gaetz said he was speaking from southern Florida and that he visited for a couple of hours with Trump on Saturday.
“He has a focus and a fighting spirit that is totally in line with the dedication and patriotism he had while he served as president of the United States,” the Florida Republican and author of the new book, “Firebrand,” noted further. “He was talking absolutely like a candidate.”
If he were to win the White House again in 2024, Trump will be 78 years old at the time.
Gaetz went on to “push back” on Hilton’s earlier comments about a fracturing GOP.
“When you asked the question, who wants to go back to the forever wars and the bad trade deals and the caravans crashing across our borders, the answer is establishment Republicans,” he said, adding “there are a whole lot of them” in Washington.
The steadfast Trump ally went on to explain how Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming continues to be “the spokesperson” for the GOP after being reelected to chair the House Republican Conference by a two-thirds majority of Republicans, though she voted to impeach the former president last month against the wishes of her own state party and the majority of Trump’s base.
He also went on to note that freshman Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who was also set to appear on Hilton’s program, spoke on behalf of Cheney’s reelection.
To that end, a Quinnipiac University survey published last week found that a majority of Republican voters have a more favorable view of freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia than of Cheney.
Gaetz noted that he meant no disrespect to Mace, but said her speech in defense of Cheney “does demonstrate there is the ‘America First’, pro-Trump wing of the party, and there is the establishment wing of the party. And the establishment wants their power back.”
After Hilton said that Republicans should be opposing Biden’s agenda, not each other, Gaetz went on to point out that while he agreed, the party ought to be focused on pursuing the former president’s agenda, not old policies of endless global engagement, more immigration, and trade deals that help other countries more than the U.S.
“I think we may have to go through a bit of a reformation in this church of a Republican Party before we can fully proselytize our message effectively,” he added.