Following a Republican senator’s vote to convict Trump last week, Lindsey Graham has made a horrifying suggestion: that Lara Trump could launch a 2022 campaign for that senator’s seat.
“The biggest winner I think of this whole impeachment trial is Lara Trump,” Graham said in a Fox News interview. “My dear friend Richard Burr… just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the Senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs. If she runs, I will certainly be behind her because I think she represents the future of the Republican Party.”
Burr, who has served in the Senate since 2005, has had his retirement plans in the works since 2016, when he announced he wouldn’t be running for re-election when his term was up. The open seat is an opportunity for Democrats to try to flip a seat in a deep-red state, and create a larger majority in the Senate. But it’s also an opportunity for Trump-loyalists like Graham to seize control of their party, whose membership is somewhat divided between keeping Trump supporters happy and worrying that invoking Trump and his extremist politics could lose them their seats.
Graham, of course, is interested in steering the GOP away from whatever course correction its leadership may be considering. Graham has said in no uncertain terms that taking back the House and Senate relies on Trump getting involved in races. And on Friday, Graham said he had plans to meet with the former president to further discuss the party’s strategy—which can only include more Trump or at least Trumpism.
It makes sense that Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter-in-law, is part of this calculus, and not just because of her last name. As Esther Wang wrote last February, Lara Trump embodies that particular brand of conservative womanhood that is so easily weaponized by the right. It’s designed to seem progressive on its face, while being hopelessly regressive at its core:
A helpful emissary on the laughably named “Trump-Pence Women’s Empowerment Tour” in the fall of 2016,” Lara quickly became an important, and easily digestible, surrogate—a white woman who could be deployed to soothe the misgivings of anxious Republican suburban women who normally would be perfectly fine voting for a racist misogynist, just not one who was quite so bald about it.
Lara Trump was credited with helping Trump win North Carolina in 2016, and was immediately re-deployed to win over suburban white women voters for his 2020 campaign. Unlike some of the other women in the Trump family, Lara Trump is fine with getting her hands dirty, which makes her both the perfect person to carry out the next phase of Trump’s plan—whatever it is—and our worst nightmare.