The creative and vicious Republican minds behind the Lincoln Project have a message for Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio: You’re next.
When they finish with President Donald Trump, the group of conservative never-Trumpers hope to knock that pair out of office two years from now, along with any Republican who enables the President.
“We burned our boats and our bridges when we did this. There’s no going back here. We have announced what we are doing, we said we wanted to be part of a grand coalition that dispatched Trump and Trumpism. People forgot about the Trumpism part,” said John Weaver, a founder of the Lincoln Project, speaking with Craig Melvin on MSNBC.
To accomplish that, Weaver said Trump supporters in the U.S. Senate and statehouses should expect to be targeted.
“If we are so fortunate that we get rid of the main zombie, there are still all these other zombies that are going to be running around the body politic,” he said.
“(That includes) these MAGA governors in Florida, and Texas, and Georgia, and Arizona. They were so afraid of offending the President that they were literally willing to sacrifice their citizens as opposed to doing the right thing with the COVID pandemic.”
In Rubio’s case, the attack has already started. His name and photo appeared, along with several other GOP senators, in a blistering ad that super-glues him to Trump.
“Every time they were called to the service of this nation and their sacred oath, they chose Trump. Every time,” the ad said. “Learn their names. Remember their actions.”
Over the weekend, a Lincoln Project tweet showed Trump in the Oval Office with a dog on a leash.
The dog’s name? Marco Rubio.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 19, 2020
While there is some speculation Rubio might not run in 2022 — he does like to keep people guessing — there is no such talk about DeSantis.
Not long ago he had some of the highest approval ratings in the nation but lost much of that political capital over how he has handled – or mishandled if you prefer – the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lincoln Project’s game plan will be simple: define him to voters as an utter failure.
There are lots of PACs on the landscape with deep pockets, but few have the same far-reaching goals as the Lincoln Project. The group’s founders include veteran GOP operatives Weaver, George Conway, Steve Schmidt, and Rick Wilson.
By the end of June, it had raised nearly $20 million and has about half of that left. Weaver said much of the funding comes from small donations of $50 to $100. They quickly react to the news cycle with rapidly produced, no-holds-barred direct attacks on Trump, often hanging him with his own words.
The barrage is relentless.
If Trump loses, other Trumpist Republicans can expect the same the next time their name is on the ballot.
It won’t be pretty.
“We’ve got a lot of work in front of us,” Weaver said. “I understand why some groups would be anxious or nervous that we’re somehow going to turn on them. But do they honestly think that after trying to dispatch Donald Trump and taking on our own (Republican) senators, we can go back to Donald Trump Jr. or something?
“I mean, what the hell? We’re here.”