Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, R-Ga., are engaging in political gymnastics to try to stay aligned with their party's Senate leadership and the White House because of an intra-GOP battle over whether to send $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a former Senate aide said Wednesday.
Jim Kessler, a former legislative and policy director for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Georgia Republicans have been thrown into chaos by warring factions of the national party, which could have an effect on the state's key Senate elections next week.
"You've got a Republican Party in Georgia that is really in chaos, Kessler said. "President Trump today called on the Republican governor to resign."
Trump's ire was directed at Gov. Brian Kemp and other top state officials because they certified the state's presidential election vote in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump contends Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have refused to seriously investigate alleged electoral inconsistencies that the president claims would flip the electoral college count in that state in his favor.
Kessler, who is also the co-founder of the Third Way think tank, added that President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are taking polar opposite positions on the key issue of stimulus checks as well.
"You've got Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue, they look like monkeys dancing on a wire on the stimulus package and are not really sure where they are, Kessler said. "These are candidates in disarray … they've moved around a lot on this wire,"
As host Eric Shawn was interviewing Kessler, McConnell and Senate Banking Committee Member Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania were making the case on the Senate floor against the $2,000 payments, as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was speaking in support of them.
"The Senate is not going to be bullied to rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats' rich friends that don't need the help," the Kentucky lawmaker said.
In the interview, Kessler went on to claim McConnell inserted a "poison pill" in the stimulus plan by drafting his own proposal that ties the payments to Section 230 reforms of Big Tech and the establishment of an election integrity commission — both of which have been demanded by Trump.
The former Democratic aide further characterized the move as "a card trick".
"Mitch McConnell doesn't want these stimulus checks, so he added a poison pill to it because he's trying to shift blame from Republicans on this to Democrats. Like a lot of card tricks, some in the audience will believe it and some will not," he said, adding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 also allows internet services to remove "obscene, lewd, filthy or excessively violent material," and asked why Republicans wouldn't want that to remain.
Trump has contended that the section must be excised because it has given Facebook and Twitter the ability to unfairly censor conservative and pro-Trump content.