By CHQ Staff
Vice President Mike Pence and his team have, sometimes to the annoyance of conservatives, generally kept a pretty low profile in the controversies generated by President Trump’s attacks on the DC Swamp.
Indeed, conservatives have wondered, “Where’s Pence” when Capitol Hill establishment Republicans went after the President on his terrorist travel ban, limits on importing dangerous refugees, and other elements of the Make America Great Again agenda and the Vice President was trying to play the peacemaker instead of standing on the frontlines slugging on his behalf.
But much of that annoyance was forgiven yesterday when POLITICO broke a story alleging that Nick Ayers, the Vice President’s recently appointed Chief of Staff suggested to a group of major donors that they needed to “form a coalition” to take on GOP leaders and members who don’t back the president.
To that we say Hallelujah, someone in the White House finally gets it.
POLITICO claims Ayers dropped the bombshell in remarks at a Republican National Committee event at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington on Tuesday morning, where he also warned that Republicans are “on track to get shellacked” in next year’s midterm elections if GOP lawmakers don’t pass Trump’s legislative priorities.
“Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him,” Ayers said, according to an audio recording of the remarks obtained by POLITICO.
One attendee later asked how the donors could “rally the congressional delegation that does support the president and vice president, and rally them and push them to change the current leadership in both the Senate and the House,” reported POLITICO’s Andrew Rustuccia and Matthew Nussbaum.
“I’m not speaking on behalf of the president or vice president when I say this,” Ayers responded according to the report. “But if I were you, I would not only stop donating, I would form a coalition of all the other major donors, and just say two things. We’re definitely not giving to you, No. 1. And No. 2, if you don’t have this done by Dec. 31, we’re going out, we’re recruiting opponents, we’re maxing out to their campaigns, and we’re funding super PACs to defeat all of you.”
POLITICO reports that Ayers continued, “Because, look, if we’re going to be in the minority again, we might as well have a minority who are with us as opposed to the minority who helped us become a minority.”
The crowd laughed and burst into applause.
Ayers, say Rustuccia and Nussbaum, warned that the Republican Party is on track for a repeat of the massive electoral backlash that came after President Barack Obama was elected and the GOP took control of Congress and statehouses across the country.
“Not because anything that the president or the vice president has done or hasn’t done, but we’re on track to get shellacked next year,” Ayers said according to the article. “On a year where we could be totally on offense because of how favorable the Senate map is to us — at best it’s going to be a wash.”
Ayers echoed our analysis by raising the possibility of “a gigantic loss” in 2018 if Republicans are not able to make tangible progress on their legislative agenda. He said policy outcomes “will determine about 75 percent of whether or not we succeed in the midterms, miss a big opportunity in the midterms or get destroyed in the midterms.”
“If we do what we’ve told the American people for almost a decade we’re going to do on Obamacare, and if we pass tax cuts, we’re going to have a governing majority for a very long time,” he said. “If we fail to do those two things, people who say, ‘Well we can’t lose the Senate, it’s way too favorable,’ I disagree with that. I totally disagree with that.”
Nick Ayres is absolutely correct, but his message should not be news to Capitol Hill Republicans.
Three weeks ago, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said according to the New York Times, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.
Senator Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.
New York Times top political reporter Carl Hulse quoted one person knowledgeable about the private meeting saying Gardner told his colleagues, “Donors are furious… We haven’t kept our promise.”
As the meeting reported by POLITICO came to a close, one female attendee asked whether she understood Ayers’ message correctly, saying: “Are we all willing, in order to get the tax bill passed, to contact all the people we donate money to — which is a long list — and tell them the money stops coming if they don’t get something done!”
The room burst into applause.
“If there’s one exception to that, that’s the RNC,” Ayers added. “But yes.”
We urge all of our friends and CHQ readers to take Nick Ayres’ advice on face value and call any Republican incumbent Senator or Representative and give them the ultimatum: The money stops coming if they don’t get something done.
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