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President arrives on Marine One on the South Lawn on New Year's Eve. Photo: Ken Cedano/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Trump is torching his own party and its leaders on his way out of power — and tossing gas on the fire with a public call for mass protest next week and a vote to overturn his defeat.

Why it matters: Trump is demanding Republicans fully and unequivocally embrace him — or face his wrath. This is self-inflicted, self-focused — and dangerous for a Republican Party clinging to waning Washington power.

Look at Trump just this week:

  • He's trying to burn down the party's chances in Tuesday's Georgia runoffs, raising doubts for Republican voters by tweeting yesterday that the state's elections are "both illegal and invalid, and that would include the two current Senatorial Elections."
  • He's trying to burn down Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — who won on the back of Trump's primary endorsement — because Kemp wouldn't interfere in the state's presidential results. Trump told Fox News' Maria Bartiromo that he's "ashamed" he endorsed Kemp, and tweeted that Kemp should resign because he's "an obstructionist who refuses to admit that we won Georgia, BIG."
  • He's trying to burn down the party's credibility by stoking protests during Wednesday's congressional certification of President-elect Biden's Electoral College victory. Trump retweeted details about "#StopTheSteal" demonstrations, including one with the web address "WILDPROTEST." He tweeted "See you in D.C." — and "Be there, will be wild!"
  • He's trying to burn down Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who congratulated President-elect Biden on his victory. Trump has falsely claimed credit for McConnell's landslide reelection.
  • He's tossing other Republicans into the fire with the futile efforts to obstruct Biden's certification. McConnell, on a conference call with fellow Senate Republicans, called the upcoming vote "the most consequential I have ever cast," Jonathan Swan reported.
  • He's trying to burn down Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), tweeting on New Year's Day that he wants South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to primary him.
  • He lit the match on the last-ditch effort to raise stimulus checks to $2,000, which threatened to split the party before McConnell killed it.

The big picture: A united Republican Party could have claimed victory for outperforming expectations in House and Senate races, making inroads with Hispanics and delivering stimulus checks. Instead, the GOP is debating an implausible decertification of a presidential election. 

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Go deeper

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated Jan 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

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Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.