Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: Axios research and FiveThirtyEight's Trump Score. See our methodology here. Note(*): Senator Mitt Romney did not join Congress until January 2019. However, statements he made as a prominent GOP figure prior to his time in office were taken into consideration. Chart: Naema Ahmed, Sara Wise, Juliet Bartz, Orion Rummler/Axios

More than 85% of elected Republicans who have been in Congress throughout President Trump’s term have largely stood by him through seven crises that would have crushed most politicians, according to a comprehensive new study by "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: The data shows how Trump’s grip on the Republican Party has tightened — especially in the last two years — as his dissenters have largely piped down, been tossed out, or currently face the threat of losing re-election.

How it works: The Trump Loyalty Index, built over the past year by Juliet Bartz of "Axios on HBO," shows in empirical terms the intense loyalty Trump commands.

By the numbers: In 2016, 42% of the 178 Republicans who have been in office since Trump's candidacy criticized him during the "Access Hollywood" fallout.

  • In 2017, 19% criticized him for Charlottesville.
  • In 2018, 18% criticized him for his “shithole countries” remark.
  • In 2019, 15% criticized him for the “go back” tweet.
  • In 2020, 12% criticized him for the Bible photo op/clearing of peaceful protesters.

In 2016, there were also 49 Republicans in Congress who didn’t support Trump or withdrew their support after "Access Hollywood." Now, 25 of them are no longer in Congress or, in Rep. Justin Amash’s case, became an Independent.

  • Of those left, only a handful have remained consistent critics.
  • Meanwhile, no GOP member who publicly supported Trump in 2016 ever evolved into a critic.
  • And no current Republican who has taken office since Trump’s inauguration criticizes him except for Sen. Mitt Romney and, at times, Rep. Liz Cheney.

Those who haven’t shown their loyalty to Trump over the past four years are more likely to be in competitive re-elections.

Overall, 24% of Republicans up for re-election are facing competitive races, based on The Cook Political Report’s most recent House and Senate election ratings.

  • That number jumps to 38% for the index’s 50 least loyal Republicans up for re-election.
  • And it drops down to 16% for the index’s 50 most loyal Republicans up for re-election.

The loyalists: The five most subservient Always Trumpers, among the 201 House and Senate Republicans who have been in office throughout Trump's term, are:

  • Rep. Glenn Grothman (Wis.)
  • Sen. David Perdue (Ga.)
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.)
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (N.D.)
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas)

The critics: Alone among the Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — now endangered in her quest for a fifth term — has criticized Trump for all seven crises. Others who have most often been at odds with Trump are:

  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.)
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)
  • Rep. Will Hurd (Texas)

The silent approvers: Often, lawmakers show their loyalty with their silence:

  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis (Fla.)
  • Rep. Frank Lucas (Okla.)
  • Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.)
  • Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.)
  • Rep. Kenny Marchant (Texas)

The bottom line: Critics and dissenters don’t fare well because that’s not what their Republican constituents want. They want Trump and what he represents — suggesting that his style of politics, and the generation of Republicans he tamed and trained, could outlast his presidency and further transform what once was the party of the sunny Ronald Reagan.

Rashaan Ayesh and Ursula Perano contributed to this story.

Editor's note: The graphic has been updated to note that Romney commented on Trump's "shithole countries" remark, and his score has been adjusted.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

33 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.