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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

We created the Trump Loyalty Index to measure, in empirical terms, how loyal each Republican member of Congress has been to President Trump throughout his time in office.

How it works: The index measures both voting loyalty, based on FiveThirtyEight data, and how members reacted to seven of Trump’s most controversial moments.

We selected controversies that:

  • Were primarily related to Trump’s behavior or rhetoric, more so than policy.
  • Elicited enough on-the-record responses so that an analysis of reactions would be meaningful and nuanced.
  • Spanned the course of his term and candidacy.

Based on those criteria, the seven controversies we selected were:

We then looked at how each member responded to each of these controversies and classified their reaction as one of the following:

  • Entirely defended — defended or stood by Trump without equivocation
  • Mostly defended equivocated, but primarily defended or stood by Trump
  • Neutral did not comment, declined to comment, or equivocated entirely
  • Mostly criticized equivocated, but primarily criticized or defected from Trump
  • Entirely criticized — criticized or defected from Trump without equivocation

In order to find each response, we checked members’ Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, press releases, floor speeches, TV interviews, and statements to national and local news outlets.

To turn our analysis of controversies and FiveThirtyEight’s data into the Loyalty Index, we assigned points and weights to each of our metrics, dividing each member’s total points by the number of possible points he or she could receive.

The points:

  • Reactions to controversies
    • Entirely defended = 100 points
    • Mostly defended = 75 points
    • Neutral = 50 points
    • Mostly criticized = 25 points
    • Entirely criticized = 0 points
  • Voting record
    • XX% = XX points

The weights:

  • For each member, we gave their voting record half the weight of their total points for reactions to controversies.
    • Note: The weight put on each member’s voting record varies based on how long they’ve been in Congress. It varies because members could only receive points for controversies that happened while they were in office.
  • We weighted the reacting to controversies data more heavily since it is primarily and inextricably about Trump, whereas factors other than Trump go into a vote.

Examples of how we weighted voting records for members that were in Congress for different lengths of time:

Always Trumpers scoring system

Note: the large majority of members have been in office for all or six out of seven controversies.

Go deeper

Nov 12, 2020 - Podcasts

Inside the rapid rise of Parler

Parler has become the social network refuge for Trump supporters who believe that legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become too restrictive, helping it shoot to the very top of the app store charts.

Axios Re:Cap digs into Parler's popularity, process and controversies with Parler chief policy officer Amy Peikoff.

Heat wave grips U.S. this week from coast to coast

Computer model projection from the GFS model showing an unusually hot airmass across the western and Central U.S. on Thursday, June 29, 2021. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread heat wave has begun across the contiguous U.S., with at least 30 million people likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100°F by the end of the week.

Why it matters: The hot weather, which comes courtesy of another heat dome building across the Southwest, Rockies and then sliding into the western Plains, will only aggravate drought conditions and worsen many of the western wildfires.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.