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Gonzalez exit demoralizes GOP moderates

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Few presidents have taken more public pleasure in seeing one of their party’s own leave office than Donald Trump in his reaction to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s announcement that he would not seek reelection.

“1 down, 9 to go!” the former president gloated, in the second of two statements he released Friday celebrating Gonzalez’s exit.

The Ohio Republican’s departure was, of course, a victory for Trump, and the first victim in his post-election crusade against the 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach him.

Shannon Burns, the president of Ohio’s Strongsville GOP, said Gonzalez “was an up-and-coming star, who made, I think, a terrible political calculation, and paid a price for it.” In a district where Trump beat Joe Biden by more than 14 percentage points, Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor and Trump adviser, said Gonzalez “got out to avoid an embarrassing or humiliating defeat.” And on Capitol Hill, even Trump’s critics could see that Gonzalez’s departure was a sign of Trump’s enduring grip on the party.

“Anthony Gonzalez is one of … the most honorable public servants that I've ever known. And the idea that the Republican Party is going to drive people like him out tells you that the party is at a moment that is very perilous for us,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in an interview, adding “that's not a party that can lead into the future.”

Yet in forgoing a bruising........

© Politico

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