Bill Barr says Trump ‘obviously’ unable to unite Republicans: ‘He failed’

Donald Trump continues to face renewed criticism and backlash from prominent Republicans, including those who have served in his administration – with former Attorney General William Barr saying that the former president was “obviously” unable to unite the GOP.

Trump faced a mounting backlash from top Republicans and the conservative media following the 2022 midterm elections, which saw many of the most prominent and important GOP candidates he endorsed lose to their Democratic opponents. An analysis of The New York Times showed that Trump’s support averaged a 5-point penalty in home runs.

Barr, in an interview aired by PBS News on Friday, assessed that Trump had “failed” and should “stand by” other GOP politicians to move the party forward.

“He failed. He didn’t do what the whole country hoped – that he would rise to the occasion and rise to office, and he didn’t do that,” Trump’s former attorney general said.

Bill Barr with Donald Trump
Upstairs, then, Attorney General William Barr listens as President Donald Trump speaks to officials on September 1, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Barr told PBS in an interview that aired Friday that Trump had “failed” and said the former president should “step aside.”
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

“So he had his chance,” continued Barr, who headed Trump’s Justice Department from February 2019 to December 2020. “He obviously doesn’t have the qualities to unite the party, which is the first step on the way back, and he should step aside.”

Though Barr has been widely regarded as one of Trump’s most loyal and effective cabinet members, he has readily debunked the former president’s lies about the 2020 election. The former attorney general has shown a willingness to criticize Trump since leaving office, but also speaks positively about the former president’s politics.

While Trump and many of his allies continue to make unfounded claims that President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was fraudulent, Barr has repeatedly called such allegations “bullshit.” He has said in interviews and under oath that he provided Trump with this information right before he resigned in December 2020.

Barr also addressed the ongoing investigation into Trump’s alleged misuse of classified documents and his connections to the violent attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in his Friday interview.

“Given what happened, I think they probably have the evidence that would tick the box,” he said. “You have the case.” The former Trump administration official added that it was “increasingly likely” that his former boss would be indicted.

Earlier in August, Barr told CBS News that the evidence against Trump was “building up.” He has also defended a controversial FBI raid on the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort, as many conservatives have criticized the federal law enforcement action.

Trump has publicly attacked Barr on several occasions. In September, he described his former attorney general as a “weak and pathetic RINO,” an acronym meaning “Republican in name only.” news week has reached out to Trump’s press rep for comment on Barr’s new PBS interview.

Other former Trump administration officials delivered apparent hits on Trump during the Republican-Jewish Coalition (RJC) event in Las Vegas on Friday. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Republicans don’t need a “celebrity”.

“The American people didn’t want to look back, they wanted to look ahead. They care about what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday,” Pompeo said.

Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence also spoke at the event and reiterated the importance of keeping his oath to the Constitution. Before the Jan. 6 riots, Trump and his allies called on Pence to unconstitutionally reject the election results of several key swing states during a joint session of Congress. Pence refused, drawing death threats from Trump supporters and a harsh backlash from his boss.

“Our party could be the last line of defense for the United States Constitution,” Pence said in Las Vegas. “The American people need to know that our party will uphold our oath to the Constitution, even when political expediency causes us to do otherwise.”

Several polls conducted among GOP voters after this year’s midterms suggest Trump’s support may be fading. While some still show Trump leading the pack of potential Republican presidential nominees for 2024, multiple polls now show Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the front runner.

Trump officially announced Tuesday his plan to run for the presidency again in 2024. No other GOP contender has made such an announcement, but DeSantis, Pompeo, Pence and a host of other prominent Republicans are widely expected to weigh the possibility of launching campaigns. Bill Barr says Trump ‘obviously’ unable to unite Republicans: ‘He failed’

Rick Schindler

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