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Trump snipes from his bunker

Donald Trump, in his pathetic effort to roll the clock back to his rejected presidency, held a reunion of his faithful over the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his resort home in Florida.

He used the occasion to repeat his familiar smears against Senate Minority Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who have dared to disagree with him. He called McConnell “a dumb son of a bitch” and “a stone cold loser” who should have opposed the certification of the election of Democrat Joe Biden during the Jan. 6 insurrection that Trump had invited with his call for a march on the Capitol.

Trump also expressed “disappointment” that his former vice president, Mike Pence, went along with the certification, saying he wished Pence “had the courage to send it back to the legislatures” and thus somehow reinstate his presidency.

While Trump was at it, he also attacked Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious disease, for continuing to counsel the wearing of protective face masks and observing social distancing. With customary Trumpian elegance, he asked: “Have you ever seen anybody that is so full of crap?”

Meanwhile, the former president used the class reunion to praise Republican governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota for advocating reopening schools in their states. DeSantis has been mentioned as a possible conservative successor to Trump, along with Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a budding right-wing extremist.

Trump also dusted off his old refrain against unwanted immigrants, reiterating “they’re coming in from the Middle East. They’re not sending their best people. You have murderers, you have rapists, you have drug dealers.”

All this came at his Palm Beach bunker, to which he has largely retreated since his inelegant ouster from the Oval Office, with threats of seeking election again in 2024. The Republican Party reportedly paid more than $100,000 for the use of Trump’s resort site to fan the embers of his 2020 rejection by 7 million votes last November.

Left uncertain is what and how the Grand Old Party may intend to cleanse itself from the stain Donald Trump has inflicted on it, to the point of whether it can survive in the post-Trump era. Only a few courageous souls of prominence like Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich have raised their heads and voices in opposition to Trump’s continued dominance.

The party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Reagan badly needs today to find a figure who is credibility as a defender of its old conservative values, and who can distance the party from the Trump brand of white supremacy and racial hatred.

Unless that happens, the treasured and strong American two-party system that has served us so well for so long may never be restored.

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Jules Witcover is a nationally syndicated columnist. You can respond to this column at juleswitcover@comcast.net.

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