“Trump Has Pushed the Wisconsin GOP Into a Full Meltdown”

Cameron Joseph for Vice:

Accusations of slander. Leaked documents. Fake news pushed by a right-wing conspiracy website. Staff forcibly reassigned. Angry warnings from former President Donald Trump.

Wisconsin Republicans have broken into open warfare over how far to push Trump’s election lies, pitting pro-Trump conspiracy theorists who think the 2020 election was outright stolen and the Republicans who merely want to make it harder to vote. 

It shows that no matter how far establishment Republicans go in trying to please Trump and his most hard-line supporters, they still risk his wrath if they don’t fall in line on every one of his demands. And it’s a clear sign of what kinds of laws Wisconsin might get should Republicans win unified control of the state in this fall’s midterms. 

This infighting has Wisconsin Republicans angrier at each other than they are about the Green Bay Packers’ loss last weekend.

“The conspiracy theorists have taken over the party,” said Wisconsin state Sen. Kathy Bernier, a Republican, whose election bill Trump attacked this week.

Tensions have been simmering for months. But they boiled over in recent days with nasty accusations and bitter recriminations. Trump-aligned Wisconsin GOP state Rep. Timothy Ramthun falsely accused Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of being in league with Hillary Clinton. Vos responded by stripping Ramthun of his lone staffer.

Then someone leaked a draft version of Republicans’ election reform bill to the conspiracy theory–promoting website Gateway Pundit, which claimed that Vos was “secretly pushing legislation” to expand the use of ballot drop boxes in the state—even though it wasn’t actually Vos’ bill.

That got Trump’s attention.

“Some RINO Republicans in Wisconsin are working hand in hand with others to have drop boxes again placed in Wisconsin. These fools are playing right into the Democrats’ hands. Drop boxes are only good for Democrats and cheating, not good for Republicans,” Trump complained in a Monday morning statement.

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