Barr accuses Trump of ‘extorting’ Republican Party, denies ‘RINOs’ exist in scorched earth interview

Trump-era Attorney General Bill Barr repeatedly slammed former President Donald Trump in a new interview published Thursday, going so far at one point as to accuse his former boss of committing “extortion” on the Republican Party.

Lasting over an hour and a half, the interview with liberal journalist Bari Weiss literally began with Barr taking his first (though not last) shot at the former president.

“Trump is his own worst enemy. He’s incorrigible. He doesn’t take advice from people. And you’re not going to teach an old dog new tricks,” he said.

Listen to the whole interview below:

The attacks continued from there, with the fiercest criticism coming during a discussion specifically on the Republican Party’s chances of rebounding to great success.

Barr argued that there’s “tremendous opportunity for the Republican Party” right now but claimed this opportunity is being squandered because of Trump and his obsession with rooting out so-called “Republicans In Name Only” (RINOs).

“It’s a huge opportunity, but instead of taking it, we are purging the party and starting civil wars over whether people are RINOs. … The idea that there are RINOs, people that really don’t support Republican principles, is simply not true,” he said.

“What the president is defining as RINOs are people who are true blue Republicans and conservatives but who just have a problem with Trump personally. This is all personal to Trump. … This is a man who’s willing to say that if you don’t do things my way and if I’m not the nominee, I’m taking my ball and going home. I will sabotage anyone you put up,” Barr continued.

“He not only does that in the presidential election, but he’ll also do that in state elections. It’s my person or it’s sabotage. This pursuit of a personal agenda and personal power is weakening the Republican Party at a time when it could have a historic victory and make historic progress in ‘making America great again.'”

He wasn’t wrong, in that with Trump, either you’re with him all the way, or you’re against him. There’s no middle ground. And this does at times alienate people, especially when they’re acting in good faith but are being treated otherwise.

“I say to the people that want to make America great again, ‘What will it take to do that?’ You don’t do it just by making your base madder and madder. It means winning big victories,” Barr added.

“I think the approach that Trump follows is weakening the Republican Party, not strengthening it. Reagan’s approach in 1980 was unifying the party and bringing over classical liberals who were upset at the turn of the Democratic Party in the 60s and 70s. We should be doing the same thing now.”

The former AG was then questioned about his thoughts on Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, a Trump-backed nominee whom Weiss complained has been “peddling Trump’s lies, talking about how Biden lost the election, and saying that the election was corrupt.”

“You’ve said the idea that the 2020 election was stolen is ‘bullshit’—a favorite word of yours. Why are so few other Republicans willing to just say it plain and straight?” the left-leaning journalist asked.

Instead of fact-checking Weiss — even critics who accept the results of the 2020 presidential election say the processes undergirding it were suspicious, at best — Barr doubled down on his criticism of Trump.

“The tactic that Trump is using to exert this control over the Republican Party is extortion. What other great leader has done this? Telling the party, ‘if it’s not me, I’m going to ruin your election chances by telling my base to sit home. And I’ll sabotage whoever you nominate other than me.’ It shows what he’s all about. He’s all about himself,” he said.


Keep in mind that as Barr was busy saying all this, the left was busy calling for him to be “disbarred”:

That said, Barr did come to Trump’s defense when Weiss broached the topic of “Never Trumpers.”

“I know you weren’t a Never Trumper. You were for Jeb Bush at first and then ultimately came around to Trump. But were the Never Trumpers right that Trump was going to turn everything that he touched to crap? Wasn’t this exactly their fear?” she said.

“They were wrong, in my opinion, because although we’ve been sort of harping on the warts of Trumpism, I think the greatest threat to the country is the radical progressive movement and what it’s degenerated into,” Barr promptly replied.

“I think Trump did serve a historic purpose: He was sort of the wrecking ball and against progressive excess. People were mad about it, and they wanted a no-nonsense person who would be a wrecking ball, and he did that.”

He added that while he believes the Republican Party “need[s] something different moving forward,” he’s willing to vote for Trump as the “lesser of two evils.”

“[I]f Trump is running against a progressive Democrat, I don’t like that choice, but it’s a lesser of two evils choice. Although we have to see more about what comes out of some of these investigations, I wouldn’t say that I wouldn’t vote for Trump,” he explained.


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Vivek Saxena


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