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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."

Go deeper

Jan. 6 select committee elevates Liz Cheney to vice chair

Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Xinhua via Getty Images

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, announced Thursday that he has named Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as vice chair.

Why it matters: Cheney, who was already the committee's top Republican, is now the panel's second-ranking member, an unusual move for a committee dominated by Democrats due to House GOP leadership's refusal to participate.

Right-wingers making McCarthy sweat for future Speaker post

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stands with his Republican colleagues outside the House on Nov. 17. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Right-wing elements in the Republican Party are complicating House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempts to become the next speaker of the House should the GOP take back the majority in 2022.

Why it matters: While McCarthy has worked carefully to build trust among the conservatives who tanked his chances at clinching the speakership in 2015, they're still circling ahead of the next Speaker vote in January 2023.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress sprints to meet crush of deadlines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Congressional leaders have been pushing off vital action for months — and a lot of it will catch up with them in December, which begins Wednesday.

Driving the news: Funding for the federal government is set to expire at midnight on Friday. There are also consequential deadlines related to the debt limit, President Biden's agenda and annual actions like voting on the National Defense Authorization Act.