Evangelical conservative administration official Peter Wehner, who served under President George W Bush as deputy director of speechwriting, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Monday that a party that turned on its own people, Senator Mitt Romney and Representative Liz Cheney, was “a diseased party right now”.
Responding to a question about the GOP’s future, Mr Wehner said: “I think it’s bleak. I think it’s electorally bleak, but more importantly than that, I think it’s bleak in terms of morality and justice.
“As you said, this is a party wedded to a big lie. Really, a whole series of big lies by a man who is perpetrating lies morning, noon, and night. And so this is a party that I would say is a diseased party right now. A dangerous party.”
Mr Wehner’s response came amid growing division within the party over which direction the GOP will take post-Trump, and how much influence the former president should have over the party’s future.
In the House, Ms Cheney – the third-highest ranking Republican leader – faced calls from Trump loyalists to resign following her decision to back Donald Trump’s impeachment over the Capitol riot.
She survived a February ballot to remove her from House GOP leadership, but 61 people voted against her.
Mr Romney, similarly, was among seven senators who voted to impeach the president over the Capitol riot – and was the only Republican to vote for his impeachment the first time around. Taking such a visible stand against a former president whose shadow continues to linger over the party has ensured Mr Romney is not short of detractors.
And the party is worse for it, Mr Wehner argued.
“People like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney and Adam Kinzinger who dare to speak truth to this party and talk about the reality of things are targeted, and in Liz’s case, she may lose her leadership position. So it’s a very difficult situation right now for the party, but one they have chosen,” he added.