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'People felt emboldened to say what they thought': DE GOP hopes to retain voters Trump energized

A woman stands at a podium on the sidewalk talking to a crowd. There is a man in the background with his hand on the sholder of another man and a large, brick building with windows is behind them
Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media
Delaware GOP Chair Jane Brady speaks at a press conference last year

The leader of the Delaware GOP continues to support the outgoing president, even as some Republicans in Congress turn their backs on him. 

Delaware GOP party chair Jane Brady thinks President Trump should not have been impeached for a second timethis week. House Democrats—and ten Republicans—voted to impeach him on the charge that he incited the deadly insurrection some of his supporters staged in the U.S. Capitol last week.

Brady, a former Delaware State Attorney General, disputes the charge. She maintains that Trump reflects the values of the Republican party.

Brady says whether or not Trump has a political future, Republicans must fight to keep the supporters he brought into the party.

“I mean he didn’t agree with everybody on everything, and he said what he thought," she said. "People felt emboldened to say what they thought. I think that’s a good thing."

Brady points to Trump's trade and economic policies.

"The First and Second Amendment, standing up for those," she added. "Reducing regulation. Stating the principles clearly and advocating for them clearly, was important.”

Brady says Trump attracted “the middle class.”

“The policies that he promoted are policies that the Republicans have been advocating for for years,” she said. “I believe he brought to the party a number of people who had not considered the Republican party a place they would feel comfortable. And I think we need to do all we can to keep the bold ideas that he promoted, that we’ve been advocating, visible in a bold way.”

But Brady says the right-wing extremists who stormed the Capitol last week do not reflect the Republican party.

The Delaware Republican party advertised—but did not organize—several buses transporting Delawareans to the rally in the Capitol last week, according to Brady. She says thetwo Delaware men arrested in connection with the riot travelled separately. 

“Most people who went down there had no intention of doing anything wrong but rallying,” Brady said. “Some extremists took advantage of the event to cause havoc and chaos and destruction, and that’s wrong. They should be prosecuted from the fullest extent of the law.”

On Thursday six Republicans in the State Senate voted against a resolution honoring Joe Biden as he prepares to take office. All Republican state representatives supported it. 

Brady says this does not reflect a split in the party — it’s just that members of the Delaware GOP represents a wide spectrum of beliefs. 

Brady says in the General Assembly this session, Delaware Republicans will focus on education, voting integrity and curtailing the Governor’s emergency powers. Their priorities are pushing for in-person education and school choice, and adding a requirement that ballots cast through same-day registration be held provisionally under abill Democrats are pushing.

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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