After impeachment trial, GOP wants to move on, but Trump doesn't

GOP officials keep stressing the importance of moving on, while Trump keeps effectively replying, "Not yet, I'm busy with my enemies list."
Image: U.S. President Trump speaks at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention and Trade Show in Austin
President Donald Trump gives a speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation's Annual Convention and Trade Show in Austin, Texas on Jan. 19, 2020.Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Ten days ago, as Senate Republicans were poised to vote against including witness testimony in Donald Trump's impeachment trial, the Senate GOP conference published a tweet signaling its intentions. "It's time to move on," Republicans said. "It's time to get back to work for the American people."

Several days later, after his party acquitted him, the president's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, added in a written statement, "[I]t's now time to get back to the business of the American people."

Trump has given every indication that he fundamentally disagrees. For the president, this is not a time for shifting energies into governing; this is instead a time for retaliation against those on his enemies list.

On Thursday morning, Trump used his National Prayer Breakfast remarks to lash out at perceived foes. On Thursday afternoon, he held a bizarre White House event celebrating his ability to get away with abusing the power of his office. A day later, the president called on Congress to "expunge" the record and make his impeachment go away. Around the same time, he ousted members of his team against whom he held a grudge.

And as Politico noted, Trump kept the offensive going over the weekend via Twitter.

President Donald Trump isn't letting up on Sen. Mitt Romney during his post-acquittal victory lap.

Four days after the end of his impeachment trial, the president spent a sunny Sunday in D.C. continuing a weekend tweetstorm against the proceedings and his perceived foes — particularly targeting Romney, the lone Republican who voted to boot him from the White House.

At one point, the president thought it'd be a good idea to promote a tweet that accused Romney of having secret ties to Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian energy company. There's no reason whatsoever to believe that, but Trump apparently didn't care.

But that was just the start of a deeply misguided iceberg.

Trump also lashed out at Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who's apparently been rebranded as "Joe Munchkin," as well as Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). The president also renewed his offensive against Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) for reasons unknown.

What's more, it'd be a mistake to think Trump is simply interested in throwing around juvenile taunts and insults. The Washington Post reported over the weekend, "The president and his advisers have also discussed removing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community, though no final decision has been made.... Some advisers have also counseled the president to remove Victoria Coates, the deputy national security adviser, who has told others in the White House that she fears her job is in jeopardy."

The result is a difficult dynamic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the contradiction between the Republican Party's posture and their president's actions: GOP officials keep stressing the importance of moving on from the impeachment ordeal, while Trump keeps effectively replying, "Not yet, I'm busy."

The president has a "revenge list" and he appears to have no intention of letting go of it anytime soon.

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