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Small Russian flags bearing the word "Trump" are thrown by a protester toward President Trump on Tuesday. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

So much media coverage centers on four Republican Trump critics — one retired, two retiring and one facing a deadly, possibly career- or life-ending cancer: George W. Bush, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (Ariz.).

Lost in this: President Trump enjoys public support (despite private gripes) from most of the 49 other Senate Republicans and 239 House Republicans, including every person in elected leadership.

  • Trump got standing ovations from Senate Republicans, with Corker in the room.
  • This flows from his strong, sustained support of GOP voters.
  • Corker is right: Republicans in private cringe at the thought of President Trump. But it's meaningless if they publicly bow to him, routinely vote for him and never condemn him.
  • This — not the criticism by the few — is the story of the moment and the first nine months: With few accomplishments, countless petty GOP fights and slights, Trump is strong as ever.
  • Flake is the proof. While cable lapped up his anti-Trump retirement speech ("I will not be complicit"), the truth is he was forced out because he wrote a book critical of the president and saw his base turn on him. If Flake ran, he was toast. Arizona Republicans prefer Trump to Flake.
  • Corker is proof, too. He sucked up to Trump before turning on him. Once Corker turned, he was probably toast, too. Tennessee Republicans prefer Trump to Corker, too.

Sound smart: For all the warnings of how harshly history will judge the Trump enablers, that history will need to be told in an exceptionally long book — because the vast majority of Republicans are forever marked as Trump Republicans.

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Go deeper

17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.

17 mins ago - World

State Dept. fears Chinese threats to labor auditors

A space for media is designated by Chinese authorities near a mosque in the Xinjiang region of China. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department is concerned organizations performing supply-chain audits in China are coming under pressure from Chinese authorities.

Why it matters: U.S. law prohibits importing products made through forced labor, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to verify whether products from China are tainted.

By the numbers: States with most new guns

Data: USA Facts, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The president unveiled his anti-crime plan Wednesday following a surge in violent crime across the country — particularly in big cities.

Why it matters: Part of the administration's plan involves cracking down on gun dealers. The U.S. has witnessed mass shootings on a weekly basis this year, according to Gun Violence Archive data.

By the numbers: Kentucky and Illinois were the top two for most firearm background checks in 2020, both numerically and per capita. Those checks are one of the best metrics for measuring gun buying in the U.S.

  • A record number of people were blocked from buying guns because of the background check system last year, at more than 300,000, the AP reported.
  • The number of background checks conducted each month has risen over the years, and March set a new record at nearly 4.7 million.