Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said Monday the Republican Party’s future lies in moving away from former President Donald Trump despite the fact that he remains wildly popular among the GOP base.
During an appearance on “Special Report” with host Bret Baier, Hume said the “challenge” for Republicans “is to move away from Trump without alienating his supporters” after “many” of them “have concluded that they cannot win an election with Trump” following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which led to a second unprecedented impeachment.
“He lost the last one and then he damaged his reputation terribly with his conduct after the election,” Hume claimed.
Nevertheless, though the former president may have a “damaged” legacy, Trump “retains a significant following within the party,” which Hume says will make it harder for Republicans to abandon him altogether.
“What they [Republicans] are trying to do, I think, is to hang on to his voters without hanging on to him,” Hume noted, adding “that is not easy to do.”
Hume then noted that both Trump and President Joe Biden drew record numbers of voters as he speculated that some Americans who cast ballots for Biden may swing back to the GOP if the 2024 nominee is someone other than “the highly controversial” former president.
“You wonder how many people who voted for Biden because they just couldn’t stand Trump might be available to another Republican nominee,” said Hume. “Something to keep in mind.”
But peeling away support for Trump among the GOP base isn’t likely to be easy, if it’s possible at all.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Monday, two days after Trump was acquitted 57-43 in the Senate, found that fully three-quarters of Republicans polled said they want the former president to continue playing a dominant role in the party compared to just 21 percent who don’t want that.
“He may be down, but he is certainly not out of favor with the GOP. Twice impeached, vilified by Democrats in the trial, and virtually silenced by social media… despite it all, Donald Trump keeps a solid foothold in the Republican Party,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said.
During his Monday evening program, Newsmax TV host Greg Kelly played a clip of Trump returning from a golf outing in West Palm Beach, Fla., to streets lined with cheering supporters chanting at him and waving pro-Trump flags.
“Look at this. A motorcade for President Trump as he came back from golfing today,” said an excited Kelly. “You see all those people? For former President Trump! Former presidents don’t get this.
“That’s amazing, and I think it speaks to his future and what kind of job he did as president,” Kelly, a former Marine AV-8B Harrier ‘jump jet’ pilot added. “One of his secrets, in my opinion, people saw him as working. They saw him battling every single day, and the people noticed.”
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Kelly brought on political strategist Dick Morris who said that Trump “always valued” the support he was shown.
“He values crowd scenes like that and it’s good to see that happen,” said Morris.