President Donald Trump continues veering so far off the rails that he struggles to maintain even the support of the most ardently supportive factions of the GOP who’ve proven they’ll stick with him through turmoil. Now, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) is reportedly preparing to break with the president’s reported hopes that he appoint the state’s Republican Congressman Doug Collins to the U.S. Senate seat that the retiring Johnny Isakson is vacating at the end of this year. Instead of Collins, Kemp is reportedly selecting financial industry executive Kelly Loeffler, thereby curtailing yet another attempted presidential power grab, considering Collins has established himself as an anti-impeachment advocate and could have carried that into the Senate.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Kemp is publicly announcing Loeffler next week. They note, based on the reporting of several anonymous senior GOP officials:
‘The appointment would defy President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders who have repeatedly urged the governor to appoint U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a four-term congressman who is one of the president’s staunchest defenders in Washington… Her appointment would do little to tamp down the internal Republican fighting over the seat.’
Kemp recently met personally with Trump about the seat in a get-together that reportedly ended abruptly after the two could not come to an agreement. Kemp apparently even brought Loeffler to meet with the president at one point, but that has not seemingly done anything to sway the president. Kemp had held an open application process for the seat.
In response to the governor’s apparent settling on Loeffler, the president’s close Congressional ally Matt Gaetz of Florida complained on Twitter:
‘If you substitute your judgement for the President’s, maybe you need a primary in 2022. Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.’
So are they just going with that under Trump, the GOP is a cult now, or what? Gaetz’s tweet sounds like it’s meant as some kind of threat.
Collins is unlikely to be retreating from the spotlight no matter his failure to secure Isakson’s seat. In the short run, House impeachment proceedings against Trump are still definitely proceeding. The next hearing — this time hosted by the House Judiciary Committee, which Collins is a member of — is set for December 4, and it will cover the legal basis for the impeachment process against Trump. Considering the apparent likelihood that the impeachment proceedings culminate in the full House formally approving articles of impeachment against Trump, the president could have used Collins’ advocacy in the Senate.
On his own time, Collins has suggested that he could run for Isakson’s seat in the special election next year to fill out the rest of the current term. Despite melodramatic Republican posturing, those elections are posed to be tough ones for the party. Polling consistently has Trump losing by significant margins to essentially all leading Democratic presidential candidates, and he could easily drag down Republican candidates for lower level offices. At present, about half of the country even actively supports the impeachment inquiry, which doesn’t exactly provide an easy path to a winning coalition.