It’s funny how one can feel sympathetic for a person while at the same time, cheering on his political demise. President Trump unceremoniously fired White House Chief Reince Priebus. Trump made it more humiliating by announcing on Twitter that Reince’s replacement is John Kelly, who was heading up the Department of Homeland Security.
Original Trumpers were not happy with the hiring of Priebus as he’s considered part of the old “establishment” and not aligned with Trump’s pretzel agenda. However, Trumpers should send well wishes to Reince and thank him because Priebus is the one person more largely responsible for Trump’s ascension to the GOP nomination than anybody else. For that reason, I am glad he’s gone, and hopefully, he never holds a position of influence in the GOP ever again.
Some Trump supporters naively think Reince was part of the dreaded establishment who tried to keep him from the nomination. Whether that is willful ignorance or a lack of memory, the reality is, Reince was there to help Trump the entire time. Priebus wasn’t awarded the Chief-of-Staff position for trying to sabotage Trump’s campaign.
It started after 2012 and Mitt Romney’s loss. Republicans felt a battered Mitt Romney was hurt by an extended primary campaign, leaving him in a weaker position to take on Barack Obama. Romney’s problems ran far deeper than having Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich hanging around as long as possible. It didn’t matter. The Republican National Committee instituted changes to the primary system designed to give a clear front runner a leg up on the competition. The party compressed its nominating calendar to try to make the process end sooner, kept all but the traditional early nominating states from holding contests until March and made shorter the period in which states could hold primaries or caucuses that award delegates proportionally. Reince and the RNC never envisioned a field of 15 candidates, and the changes made it possible for a candidate to win the nomination with a small plurality of the vote. Donald Trump’s final percentage to win the GOP nomination was 44 percent, but he had the nomination pretty much wrapped up in April 2016 when he had only 37 percent of the vote.
That move was not an overt attempt to help Trump, but it was short-sighted on Reince’s part. There was a point, however, when Reince showed himself to be a weasel and was more concerned about placating Trump than he was doing what was best for the party. In August 2015, shortly before the first GOP debate, Donald Trump threatened a third-party run if the GOP didn’t treat him “fairly.” From the NY Post:
Days before his GOP presidential debate debut, Donald Trump threatened an independent run if his fellow Republicans don’t play nice.
“If I’m not treated fairly by the Republican Party, I very well might consider that,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I would certainly not give that up.”
The remarks come to the dismay of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who wants GOP candidates to promise not to start a third-party run if they lose.
A clear front-runner in the polls, Trump has complained that fellow Republicans haven’t respected his standing or taken him seriously.
“They attacked me first and I hit them back and maybe even harder than they hit me,” Trump said of his GOP rivals. “But the fact is that I’ve been attacked pretty viciously by some of these guys.”
In an attempt to demonstrate his seriousness, the billionaire entrepreneur announced Sunday he’ll make public his tax returns. Hillary Clinton released eight years of tax returns Friday that show in 2014 the Clintons made almost $28 million and paid 35.7 percent in federal taxes.
Funny how Trump never made good on that pledge.
The reaction to this temper tantrum should have been Reince telling Trump to jump in a lake. Instead, Reince played capitulator and showed the ultimate level of weakness by flying to New York City to stroke Trump’s fragile ego and raise the prospect of a “loyalty pledge” after Trump refused in the first debate to say he’d support whoever became the GOP nominee. Reince flew to New York to kiss Trump’s ring and convince him the other Republicans wouldn’t be meany-pants to him.
The final straw came during the Republican National Convention when Reince and others in the RNC, squelched attempts by some states to force roll call votes for convention rules:
Open discord and revolt broke out on the floor of the Republican National Convention Monday as GOP officials crushed an attempt to change party rules, a maneuver that could have embarrassed presumptive nominee Donald Trump.
In a highly unusual show of disunity and anger on the floor of a modern party convention, a group of states tried to force a state-by-state roll call vote on the rules of the convention. The rebellion apparently caught Trump’s campaign team by surprise, and his lieutenants were seen frantically whipping votes on the floor to squelch the effort amid scenes of deepening disarray.
The afternoon furor erupted when Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack, who was serving as convention chair, put the rules for the convention to a voice vote, and amid a chorus of boos and cheers from anti-Trump supporters declared those in favor of the motion had prevailed, while apparently ignoring objections from several state delegations on the cacophonous floor of the convention.
Reince shut everything down and there was zero chance Republicans could do anything at that point to up-end the Trump nomination.
So yes, Reice Priebus did all he could, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to bring about the nomination of one Donald J. Trump. His reward was a powerful position in the White House. But Reince learned the hard way with President Trump. He only cares about himself and with just over six months on the job, Trump tossed him aside without so much as a word of thanks.
Perhaps Reince deserved better, but who cares? He helped bring about this mess. Good riddance, Priebus.