Another of ‘Trump 10’ heads east

Katko is one of 10 Republicans in the House who voted to charge Trump for his actions (and inaction) during the January 6 riots. He is now one of three – representatives of Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois are others – who have announced that they will leave Congress at the end of this term.

The reality for Republicans right now is that breaking up with Trump – especially in such a prominent way as voting on impeachment – is a political poison. And the former president himself will try to make you drink.

“1 down, 9 left!” Trump said this in a statement released after Gonzalez’s announcement. “2 down, 8 left!” he said after Kinzinger’s decision. “Great news, another will bite into the dust,” the former president responded to Katek’s report.

Leaving aside the three outgoing members, the remaining seven are also in varying degrees of political danger.

Wyoming representative Liz Cheney has already been stripped of her leadership role after her outspoken criticism of Trump and is fighting for her political life against a Trump-backed opponent.

The former president also supported the primary challengers Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Peter Meijer of Michigan and Fred Upton of Michigan. (Upton also remains a retirement option.)

The message is simple: Break up with Trump and watch the end of your political career (or face the toughest primary challenge you can imagine). It is not exactly an incentive for elected officials to express any criticism or differences of opinion with the former president.

Point: The current Republican Party is much more like a cult of personality than a national political organization. And every time one of the “Trump 10” bows, the grip of the former president on the side is a little tighter.

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