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Opponents of Jim Jordan denounce threats and intimidation

This is perhaps one of the most important, but least understood, facets of the MAGA movement’s dominance of the Republican Party: the role of threats and intimidation. Congressional Republicans have sometimes cited his impact in leading their colleagues to toe Donald Trump’s line — despite their better judgment and principles — most recently retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

But most don’t talk about it, some of these members noted, because to call out the crowd is to inflame it.

This has started to change somewhat.

This week, a handful of Republicans not only opposed efforts to install far-right Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as president; they also resisted the resulting pressure tactics and attempts at intimidation quite strikingly.

Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) wholeheartedly rebuked those tactics shortly after Jordan’s failure in the runoff election Wednesday. (Jordan’s opposition grew from 20 to 22 Republicans — far more than the four GOP defections he can afford.)

Womack described how his staff had been “insulted, threatened. It was non-stop. Most of them are out of state calls.

“It’s a matter of how you treat people,” Womack said, as reported by the Washington Post. Jacqueline Alemany reported. “And frankly, from what I’ve experienced and what my team has experienced, the strategy is obvious: attack, attack, attack.”

Womack added that Jordan’s “tactics” seriously backfired.

Another holdout, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.), posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Intimidation and threats will not change my position. »

A third, Rep. Jen A. Kiggans (R-Va.), echoed the same message on principles and my values. »

A fourth, Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (R-Fla.), said he had spoken directly with Jordan about it. “I told him, ‘I don’t really appreciate threats,'” Gimenez told NBC News.

A fifth, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), said her decision to vote against Jordan on Wednesday was met with “credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls.”

And a sixth, Representative John Rutherford (Republican of Florida), more explicitly placed the blame on Jordan.

“He’s absolutely responsible for it,” Rutherford told Alemany. “And look, it doesn’t work. …No one likes having their arm twisted.

The degree to which these members suggest the culpability of Jordan and its closest allies varies. And Jordan on Tuesday evening rebuked such tactics, posting onWe need to stop attacking each other and come together.”

But there is no doubt that the situation was always likely to develop in this way. There is a cottage industry of right-wing influencers who have used these tactics to significant effect, primarily on behalf of Trump. For years, Trump has conditioned his supporters to use these tactics. And Jordan is an integral part of the MAGA movement.

Trump has repeatedly attacked any Republican who dares criticize him, making them persona non grata in the party and often helping to drive them out. (Many of those who spoke of threats were retirees or former members.)

He repeatedly and suggestively alluded to the prospect of righteous violence on the part of his supporters, and he continued to do so even after the January 6 insurrection. Some rioters say they understood they were acting on his wishes. Trump, now four times indicted, has also continued to attack prosecutors, judges, staff and potential witnesses in a gruesome manner that is difficult to understand as anything other than an attempt to influence them, the judges now limiting his speech because of this. .

And the fact is that it works. This is how we get a majority of House Republicans to approve the rejection of the 2020 election results, despite the lack of real evidence of voter fraud or large-scale malfeasance. It’s how you keep the party on the straight and narrow when you can’t stop making trouble for it and when virtually all evidence suggests you’re a political liability.

So when the MAGA wing had a chance to install one of its residents as a spokesperson, how else was it going to respond to those who might stand in the way?

The question from here is whether this repression it changes everything. The antidote to this kind of bullying was always either the fever going down or people starting to denounce it and strongly oppose it.

This is easier to do when the guy on the other side is Jim Jordan rather than Trump, for obvious reasons. And we shouldn’t expect Republicans to suddenly speak in the same terms about their main candidate for the 2024 presidential nomination.

But at the very least, the speaker drama revealed the presence of some backbone among Republican conference members whose backbone density was in question. And it has led to at least some sort of conversation about ugly political tactics that is years overdue.

This article has been updated with comments from Miller-Meeks.


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