The Republican Party is "engaged in a full civil war," Fox News correspondent Juan Williams said Monday, and the in-house feud among Republicans is splintering the party as the 2016 presidential election nears.
"[Donald] Trump and the 16 other candidates for the GOP's presidential nomination made news when they signed a pledge to support the party's nominee," said Williams in an opinion piece for The Hill.
"But it seems implausible that all of them would take a comparable pledge, to support the party's top elected officials — the Republican Congressional leadership."
The feud is positioning the "center-right" establishment in one corner against the "talk show hosts and Tea Party activists," who deride party congressional leaders as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) or "squishes" if they want to to work with deals with Democrats.
Instead, said Williams, activists want Congress to confront and be angry at the entire government and President Barack Obama, as shown by the party's right wing calling for a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
Polls are giving congressional Republicans — in particular, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — low ratings, reflecting criticism from the right for the leaders' failures to stop Obamacare or same-sex marriage, among other issues.
The division is also affecting the GOP primary races, with many of the candidates attacking Washington's establishment party members and leading to the rise of outsiders like Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson to the top of the wide field of candidates.
Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, another candidate, is also climbing in the polls because he's setting himself apart from other Washington senators, including calling McConnell a liar on the Senate floor.
The growing battles are also bringing calls to replace Boehner as House speaker, said Williams, but the Ohio Republican is also now saying he's the "most non-establishment Speaker we've ever had."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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