OnPolitics: The battle for the GOP's soul

Mabinty Quarshie, USA TODAY
·3 min read

Here in OnPolitics, we usually talk about President Joe Biden and his agenda that's stemmed from his Democratic ticket. Today, we're talking GOP.

The short of it: The Republican party has struggled to maintain unity in the wake of former President Donald Trump's election loss to Biden.

The latest: Trump previously attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after the Kentucky Republican criticized Trump's culpability in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. This past weekend he took another shot at McConnell, calling him "a loser."

Now, former House Speaker John Boehner's new memoir takes aim at well-known Republicans such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and Trump as well.

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The GOP's fork-in-the-road moment

It was supposed to be a weekend conference devoted to Republican unity. Then Trump went off-script and unleashed a scathing attack on GOP stalwarts like McConnell, Mike Pence and others.

In addition to calling McConnell "a loser" during his Saturday night speech to the Republican National Committee spring retreat, Trump also criticized Pence for not backing efforts to overturn his election loss, according to people in the room.

To add injury to insult, the ex-president is also endorsing allies running in party primaries, often to retaliate against Republicans who favored impeachment after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Other Republicans denounced the former president's rhetoric, saying it hurts the party as it tries to deal with the Biden administration and the coming elections.

You know who wasn't surprised by the Jan. 6 insurrection? John Boehner

Boehner's new book, out Tuesday, is titled "On the House: A Washington Memoir." It is unlike the classic Washington memoir, those soft-focus accounts extolling what-I-achieved in office. "I wasn't going to write some typical Washington walk," he told USA TODAY Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page.

Here are some of the eyebrow-raising comments in his book: Boehner describes Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh." Freedom Caucus members as "political terrorists" and "far-right knuckleheads." Former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as "one of the chief crazies."

He also accused Trump of "abusing" the loyalty of his followers by lying to them about the presidential election he lost, rhetoric that fueled the storming of the Capitol.

As Page writes, "It is an extraordinary rebuke of the current-day GOP, an excoriation without precedent in modern times, leveled by one of the party's most senior figures."

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Hope you have a happy National Grilled Cheese Day😋! —Mabinty

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump, John Boehner attack prominent GOP members