GOP’s post-Trump planning hits Trumpian obstacles: The Note

Republicans are hoping to win with Trump or very much without his blessing.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel doesn't want to talk about the not-so-long-ago possibility that former President Donald Trump would bolt the Republican Party.

On Thursday, she told reporters she would not comment on reporting in the new book by ABC's Jonathan Karl about Trump threatening to leave the GOP -- except to note, happily, that it never happened.

"If he left the party," McDaniel said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, "Republicans would lose."

Republicans from McDaniel on down are hoping to win with Trump, or, in rarer cases, very much without his blessing. Most are hoping to get the base-activating positive side without the conspiracy-laden parts that contributed to Jan. 6.

That's been the spirit of the Republican Governors Association meeting this week, which cheered Glenn Youngkin's win in Virginia as a new model for the GOP. It has McDaniel acknowledging that President Joe Biden won the election -- "painfully," as she quickly pointed out.

But a week supposed to be about Republican unity in opposing Biden was sidetracked by a Trump-loyal congressman who refused to apologize for posting a video depicting violence against a colleague. That same congressman got an endorsement for reelection from Trump on Thursday.

House Minority Kevin McCarthy had his current loyalty to Trump met by the suggestion by Mark Meadows -- a former House member and Trump White House chief of staff -- that Trump should become the next speaker instead of McCarthy.

Trump himself continues to muse publicly and privately about supporting primary challengers to Republicans. The Jan. 6 committee, meanwhile, churns on while Meadows tries the Steve Bannon strategy of not cooperating.

Trump's voice carries significantly less weight in shaping the policy and political landscape. But his presence remains everywhere Republicans hope to go -- whether they like that or not.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

After months of party infighting pertaining to Biden's social spending plan, House Democrats met a familiar foe: McCarthy.

Despite their minority status, the GOP -- via McCarthy's hours-long speech -- still managed to make a mess of Democratic aims to push forward on Biden's $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan. McCarthy taunted Democrats from the dais.

"Future generations will laugh at the spending you're creating tonight," McCarthy said.

The snag in Democratic hopes came after a last-ditch effort to modify the plan to be compliant with senate budget rules, an attempt to pave the way for Senate Democrats to pass the plan without the buy-in of Republicans who remain staunchly opposed.

The bitter House debate also sets the stage for another battle brewing, the fast-approaching government funding deadline on Dec. 3. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House Appropriations Committee has already accused Republicans of stalling negotiations.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

While his fellow Republican governors gathered in Phoenix for their annual meeting, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Florida on Thursday signing anti-mandate legislation related to the coronavirus.

DeSantis, thought to be a 2024 hopeful, took a jab at Biden by signing the legislation at a Honda dealership in Brandon. The location was a reference to "Let's go Brandon," a new anti-Biden slogan coined by the GOP after a reporter misheard a chant that was vulgarly criticizing the president. A DeSantis press secretary told ABC News, "I'll let you connect the dots," when asked about the significance of signing anti-mandate legislation there.

The bulk of the package, dubbed the Florida Freedom Agenda, will prevent employers and governments within the state from mandating vaccines without broad exemptions for certain groups. The bill comes after Biden's administration mandated that businesses with 100 employees or more require vaccines or test employees weekly for the virus.

DeSantis is continuing to forge ahead in building himself a national profile, complete with stunts like these, to show the GOP base he understands where the interest lies.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. On Friday morning, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explains how the money promised by Biden's infrastructure bill will be spent. Then, ABC's Diane Sawyer describes meeting with children of the infamous Turpin family. And, Dr. Amesh Adalja, scholar at John Hopkins, talks about the confusion over COVID boosters.


  • President Joe Biden pardons the National Thanksgiving Turkey at 3:15 p.m. in a Rose Garden ceremony.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing at 1 p.m.
  • At 10 a.m., the Christmas tree arrives at the Capitol.
  • Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”: Co-anchor Martha Raddatz goes one-on-one with White House Chief Medical Adviser and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci. Plus, the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week’s politics with ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent and “This Week” Co-Anchor Jonathan Karl, ABC News Deputy Political Director Averi Harper, POLITICO White House Correspondent Laura Barrón-López and Axios National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan.

    Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.

  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.