Jun 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Axios CEO: Believing pre-Trump GOP will return is "fantasy"

The GOP of Paul Ryan, Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney is gone for good — replaced by Trumpers, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday.

Why it matters: "The Republican Party has spoken," VandeHei declared, adding that anybody who does not believe Trump's iron grip over the GOP has been institutionalized is living in a "fantasy."

What we're hearing: "I had this conversation with three different people yesterday, who just pined the days of the Republican Party of old," VandeHei said. "And my point to them was: It's gone!"

  • "Look at who gets attention to this day," he continued. "It's Tucker [Carlson], it's Ben Shapiro, Mike Pence, it's Donald Trump. ... The party does not care fundamentally about deficits. I don't even know that the vast majority of what you would call the base of the party right now cares that much about ideology. It's much more an identity statement, a cultural statement."
  • "Everyone assumed Jan. 6 was this watershed moment. ... Historically insane, what happened. And yet almost instantly, at a moment where you would think it's unthinkable, everyone snaps back like that — not just to the norm, but to the Trump norm."
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