New Jersey GOP leaders ready to dump Trump ahead of critical 2022 midterms

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3 mins read

With the Republican control of Congress in the palm of their hands as a red wave sweeps across America, New Jersey Republicans are positioning themselves in a rather strange spot, in the crosshairs of former President Donald J. Trump. The anti-Trump sentiment is growing among the GOP establishment, who let’s face it, went all-in on people like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich in the 2016 primary.

It’s no secret to everyday Republicans living in New Jersey. The establishment Republican Party in New Jersey is fifty shades of purple with blue highlights. As the popular internet meme goes, this is a case of “Tell us you’re a RINO without saying you’re a RINO”.

One prominent Republican Blogger, Matt Rooney, who is idolized by the GOP establishment even once proposed “throwing Trump supporters over the wall” during the primary. The never-Trump contingent of New Jersey Republicans is now showing their faces again now that it’s safe to come out against the President. Or so they might think. The entire thing will probably come back to bite them in the end.

They sat idly as Joe Biden nuked the border. They did nothing when Joe Biden nuked the economy. They didn’t run to the press after Biden nuked personal medical freedom. They remained silent in the court of public opinion as Biden nuked public safety. Now, like cockroaches after a nuclear bomb war, they are starting to scurry out of the cracks and crevices of the post-Trump apocalyptic landscape that has become America.

Related: Ocean County GOP dumps Trump, unanimously endorses Chris Smith for Congress and incumbents

Chris Christie was the first among the GOP establishment that took Trump head-on. Then it was New Jersey GOP candidate for Governor Jack Ciattiarrelli in 2021. That didn’t pan out well for Ciattarelli, who called the former President “a charlatan who is unfit to be president”.

While Ciattarelli wallowed in confusion about his 2021 loss, around him, pro-Trump Republicans were gaining ground on Democrats. Ed Durr, Mike Testa and others lead the GOP resurgence.

Now, some of the old guard Republicans who initially opposed Trump are making themselves heard.

Bill Palatucci, the RNC committeeman representing New Jersey took the gloves off and started swinging at Trump after returning home from the annual RNC winter meeting in Utah. Perhaps he was influenced by Mitt Romney while he was there?

” ‘Even I am getting tired of Donald Trump,’ ” Palatucci was quoted in a conversation with a colleague in a NorthJersey.com interview. “To me, it made the week worth it. If somebody like that is finally seeing the light, I’m happy about that.”

Palatucci and New Jersey GOP Chairman Bob Hugin defied Trump earlier, voting against an RNC resolution censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Palatucci and Hugin, two of the most prominent establishment GOP members in New Jersey were among only a dozen others around the country to oppose the Cheney censure.

Related: Trump factor weighs heavily on Ciattarelli defeat by Phil Murphy in New Jersey

That anti-Trump sentiment was felt all around the state as county GOP organizations began offering their June primary election nominees. At the Jersey Shore, Monmouth and Ocean County GOP leaders bucked Trump and nominated incumbent Congressman Chris Smith despite Trump’s call to primary Smith after he voted for the Democrat-led bi-partisan infrastructure bill.

Palatucci and Christie are tied at the hip, politically and financially. It’s in Palatucci’s best interest to create an anti-Trump agenda within the New Jersey GOP because he was Christie’s right-hand man while the former prosecutor was governor of New Jersey. Now, Christie is trying to climb his way up the Republican ladder again, this time, once again setting his sights on President. He knows Trump will be in his way, but somehow, Christie and Palatucci think they can lead the rebellion against Trump in order to pave the way for a Christie presidency.

While the idea sounds like a delusional conspiracy theory, it’s true.

It probably won’t work. America is in a mess. A mess created by Joe Biden, Democrats, and anti-Trumpers like Cheney, who are appeasing the Biden administration.

Worse, for a group of self-proclaimed political geniuses, they aren’t taking a temperature reading in New Jersey’s staunch Republican centers where Trump is still viewed as a champion of the people. It was the Trump factor that pushed so many Republican candidates to office in 2022 and it was the Trump factor that lead to the embarrassing defeat of Jack Ciattarelli to Phil Murphy, arguably one of the worst and most disliked governors in New Jersey history.

Before Ciattarelli, it was Hugin who lost a huge election in the Senate against embattled Democrat Robert Menendez. Still, guided by political consultants like anti-Trump campaign messenger Chris Russell, the GOP is once again preparing to march directly into the fire.

Whether or not you’re still a fan of Trump, it’s a bad dinner topic conversation for Republicans and you’ll probably be better off not saying anything and keeping your anti-Trumpism to yourself because, at the end of the day, the GOP needs to flip at least two seats here in New Jersey to flip Congress. Luckily, the days of the party bosses sending commands down the chain of command are over and most Republicans don’t care about what Chris Christie, Bob Hugin or Bill Palatucci have to say. They have a losing track record in big races over the past five years and as Trump once said, “Losers aren’t winners”.