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POLITICO Playbook: Trump tightens his grip on the GOP

www.politico.com
7 min read
fairly easy
And Americans feel more optimistic than they have in over a decade.
POLITICO Playbook: Trump tightens his grip on the GOP Presented by

Donald Trump had some wins this weekend — further signs he is cementing his grip on the GOP and exacting revenge on those Republicans who supported his impeachment. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

DRIVING THE DAY

There are some very encouraging new numbers for President JOE BIDEN this morning: Sixty-four percent of Americans said they're optimistic with the direction of the country, according to an ABC/Ipsos poll.

"The last time the country came close to that level of optimism about the coming year was in December 2006." More from ABC

But DONALD TRUMP also had some wins this weekend — further signs he is cementing his grip on the GOP and exacting revenge on those Republicans who supported his impeachment.

— In Saturday's Texas special election for the U.S. House, Trump-endorsed SUSAN WRIGHT came out on top in a 23-person multi-party field. While there will be a runoff, the likely second-place finisher is GOP state Rep. JAKE ELLZEY, who has voiced his own support for Trump. Worth noting: In 2020, Trump won this district by just 3 points, and Dems' challenges turning out their voters bode poorly for them in 2022. More from Ally Mutnick

— Sen. MITT ROMNEY was "lustily" booed at the Utah Republican convention Saturday, and narrowly survived a censure vote over his support for Trump's impeachment. More from the Salt Lake Tribune

— House GOP frustrations with Rep. LIZ CHENEY (R-Wyo.) are "at a boiling point" over her continuing criticism of Trump. And that could lead to a snap election on her position as the No. 3 leader in the GOP Conference. More from The Hill

— Retirements by House Dems in competitive seats are starting to add up, and that could imperil their chances at holding onto the House. Meanwhile, "only one Republican from a competitive seat, Rep. LEE ZELDIN (R-N.Y.) has so far signaled he will leave the House." More from WaPo

One — VERY LARGE — caveat to this spate of good news for Trump:…
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