The Slatest

Schiff: Republican Party “Is Now an Autocratic Cult Around Donald Trump”

Rep. Adam Schiff reacts as he speaks during the Select Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, during their first hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2021.
Rep. Adam Schiff reacts as he speaks during the Select Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, during their first hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2021. JIM LO SCALZO/Getty Images

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said Sunday that the Republican Party has become “an autocratic cult around Donald Trump.” Schiff gave the description during an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation after host Margaret Brennan asked about the way Democrats are pursuing legislation that only fellow party members will support. “It once again looks to people at home like, they can’t get along, Washington’s not working again,” Brennan said. But Schiff said that the current dynamic was only a product of what the Republican Party has become.

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The Republican Party “is not interested in governing,” Schiff said. “It’s not interested in even maintaining the solvency in the credit worthiness of the country. And we have to recognize that they’re not interested in governing. And so we’re going to govern, we’re going to have to do it. And if we have to do it with our own votes, we will do that.”

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Schiff went on to say that the Republican Party “has completely abandoned its ideology.” Instead, it has turned itself into “an anti-truth, anti-democratic cult of the former president.” Schiff said that there’s a possibility there could be another Capitol attack in the future but that isn’t what worries him the most. “But what is even more pressing a threat is what we see Republicans doing around the country, taking this big lie about the last election and running with it,” he said.

Schiff said it was precisely this dynamic that pushed him to write his new memoir, Midnight in Washington. “I wanted to tell the story in this book about how- how does that happen, how in four short years does our democracy become so threatened?” he said. Schiff said that “one of the terrible realizations” he had during the Trump presidency is that people he respected proved to be more interested in power than anything else. “One of the terrible realizations for me is that so many of the people I worked with across the aisle, who I admired and respected because I believe that they believed what they were saying, turned out not to believe it at all,” Schiff said. “That the only thing that they cared about was the maintenance of their power or position.”

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