(CNN)In the five months since Donald Trump grudgingly left the White House, one of the central questions kicking around American politics is this: How big, exactly, is the group of pure “Always Trumpers” in Congress?
The last few days have provided us with some clarity on that question — with votes on back-to-back days on rewarding four Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement who responded to the January 6 riot (Tuesday) and making Juneteenth a new federal holiday (Wednesday).The first vote was described by Republicans who opposed it as a partisan move by Democrats because the word “insurrection” was used to describe what happened on January 6. (It was, by the definition of “insurrection,” an insurrection.) Which is very much in line with Trump’s oft-stated efforts to rewrite the history of that day.
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Opposition to making Juneteenth a federal holiday was rooted in the idea that it, in the words of Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy, “needlessly divides our nation on a matter that should instead bring us together by creating a separate Independence Day based on the color of one’s skin.” Again, that’s a view very much in keeping with Trump’s anti-woke crusade.Let’s go through each vote.Read MoreNo on Juneteenth (14 Republicans)1. Andy Biggs (Arizona)2. Mo Brooks (Alabama) 3. Andrew Clyde (Georgia)4. Scott DesJarlais (Tennessee)5. Paul Gosar (Arizona)6. Ronny Jackson (Texas)7. Doug LaMalfa (California)8. Tom Massie (Kentucky)9. Tom McClintock (California)10. Ralph Norman (South Carolina)11. Mike Rogers (Alabama)12. Matt Rosendale (Montana)13. Chip Roy (Texas)14. Tom Tiffany (Wisconsin)No on Congressional Gold Medal (21 Republicans)1. Lauren Boebert (Colorado)2. Mike Cloud (Texas)3. Warren Davidson (Ohio)4. Matt Gaetz (Florida)5. Louie Gohmert (Texas)6. Bob Good (Virginia)7. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia)8. Andy Harris (Maryland)9. Jody Hice (Georgia)10. Mary Miller (Illinois)11. Barry Moore (Alabama)12. Scott Perry (Pennsylvania)13. John Rose (Tennessee)14. Greg Steube (Florida)15. Andy Biggs (Arizona)16. Andrew Clyde (Georgia)17. Paul Gosar (Arizona)18. Tom Massie (Kentucky)19. Ralph Norman (South Carolina)20. Matt Rosendale (Montana)21. Chip Roy (Texas)(The bold denotes Republicans who voted against both measures.)So, if you add it up, you get 28 total GOP members who voted against at least one of the measures, with an additional seven voting against both.When you overlay that with the House Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College certifications in Arizona and Pennsylvania, you get 25 lawmakers from this group — all but Massie, McClintock and Roy from the lists above.Those 25 are rightly understood as the hardcore Trumpers in Congress. Which, doing a bit of back-of-the-envelope math, means that roughly 12% of the 211 House Republicans will follow Trump (and his wild claims) anywhere he goes.Now, that does not mean that only 12% of House Republicans are in Trump’s camp. As the votes on the Electoral College objections in Pennsylvania (138 Republicans) and Arizona (121 Republicans) make clear, the number of GOPers willing to go along with the former President’s conspiracy theories — contra all available facts — is far larger.These 25 Republican members are best understood as the most rabid believers in Trumpism — such as it is. These are the people that form the core of his base, the people who will continue to push his ridiculous claims about the 2020 election, serve as foot soldiers in his war on wokeness and ensure that the Trump fire stays burning all the way until the he makes a decision on whether or not to run again in 2024.And as this past week of votes makes clear, they aren’t going anywhere.