Donald Trump still has a significant influence on the Republican Party, but how much influence does he have on his supporters? More than once we’ve seen him forced to shift to hold onto them, rather than having any effect on their views.
Conspiracy theorists jumped on the opportunity to call the virus a government plot for control (and to sell unproven and unsafe treatments and preventions) and a significant portion of Republicans decided to oppose every measure that actually might help prevent the spread of the disease — masks, social distancing, shutdowns, remote work and classes, and finally, vaccines.
Here’s Mary Trump explaining how her uncle lost control of his own extremist base.
Mary Trump on former President Trump holding maskless rally in Alabama, which has run out of ICU beds amid COVID surge:
“Where are the adults who were saying ‘no, we cannot allow this to happen’? This happens on the Republican party a lot.” pic.twitter.com/xdVG8vde8R
— The Recount (@therecount) August 23, 2021
“They pander to the most extreme elements among them, thinking that they control them, and then they see that they lose control, because not only will they not get the vaccine even if Donald tells them to, they’re actively booing him for it.”
What she’s describing happened this weekend at Trump’s rally in Alabama, where he told crowds that they could keep their freedom and still get vaccinated, and assured them that he got the shot and that it is effective. In clips from the rally, the crowd can be heard cutting off mid-cheer and turning angry when they realize that he’s advocating for vaccination.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com