These acute tensions with a president many lawmakers distrust only exacerbate the already deep divisions that have plagued the party for years. Now, the disunity is playing out in concrete ways through the GOP primaries.
“It’s different because you’ve got a Republican in the White House, and not everyone in the party is in lockstep behind him, and of course that’s going to play forward in primaries,” said Austin Barbour, a veteran Republican operative based in Mississippi. “We see that in Arizona and in Nevada, and we’ll certainly see it in other states as well. That is very much the exception, not the rule, for both Republicans and Democrats.”