Months later, the deadly January 6 attack is still reverberating on Capitol Hill, with Democrats and other lawmakers on edge, and some even reporting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. “This is not something I ever expected to experience,” Congressman Dan Kildee said in an NBC News interview on Sunday, telling Hallie Jackson that viewing footage of the riot afterward “triggered an emotional and physical reaction” in him.
But not every lawmaker is haunted by the insurrection. Some are faring quite nicely, in fact. Take Josh Hawley: the Missouri Republican, who with Ted Cruz helped lead Donald Trump’s effort to overturn his election loss in the Senate, has been on a fundraising tear since the 6th, parlaying his role as an instigator into a cash haul from the MAGA faithful. According to Politico, Hawley took in over $3 million in the first quarter of the year on nearly 60,000 donations—a huge spike compared to this time last cycle, when the freshman senator received just $43,000.
Far from being punished for helping Trump undermine the democratic process, GOP extremists are being rewarded for it. Hawley wasn’t the only one who saw a fundraising boost in the early months of 2021; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene also brought in more than $3 million, and Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip who, as recently as late February, still could not bring himself to publicly admit that Joe Biden had legitimately defeated Trump, raked in a whopping $7.1 million—some of which he’ll put toward efforts to reclaim the House for Republicans. The National Republican Congressional Committee, to which Scalise and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy contributed $3.5 million and $5.3 million respectively, has reportedly added nearly $34 million to its coffers so far this year.
For their opponents, the successful start to the year in fundraising underscores the danger they represent. “It’s on us to expose the threat that they pose to American democracy, the rule of law, the social fabric, so it will resonate with people of conscience and diminish the threat,” Jason Isaacson, chief policy and political affairs officer at the American Jewish Committee, told the Washington Post, expressing particular alarm at the numbers Greene has posted, which his group called a “warning shot to American democracy.” For pro-Trump Republicans, though, it is incentive to keep doing exactly what they’ve been doing. “I will NEVER backdown!” Greene tweeted last week, touting her fundraising totals. “As a matter of fact, I’m just getting started.”
The fundraising surge on the insurrectionist right tells an incomplete story about the GOP in 2021. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who has led a crusade to reclaim his party from Trump and was one of only a handful of Republicans to vote early this year to impeach him, said on April 1 that he and his anti-Trump PAC had received more than $2 million to start the year—a sign, he said, that there is a strong desire within the party to move away from the former president. “There were a lot of people that questioned whether or not somebody taking a stand for truth, telling the truth, going against kind of the emotional grain of the moment could survive,” the Illinois representative told reporters. “And, you know, obviously it’s gonna be a continuing difficult fight and battle….But if the first quarter is any indication, it’s very solid.”
Whatever appetite exists within the GOP for a fresh start, however, a good chunk of the base seems hungrier for more MAGA. The proof is in the numbers: as the New York Times noted over the weekend, with Trump courting conservative donors at a South Florida retreat, he has as much in his coffers as the Republican National Committee—possibly more—and remains the party’s center of energy. “All Republican roads lead to Mar-a-Lago,” Trump adviser Jason Miller told the Times.
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