Years after getting sidelined by Donald Trump in 2016, the Republican party old guard appears to be trying to claw back into power amid speculation that Trump is losing political influence.
George W. Bush ally Karl Rove sparked a fiery response from Trump after going on Fox News to downplay Joe Biden's classified documents scandal -- using many of the Democratic party's own talking points.
Rove said that in Biden's case, there "appear" to be "about 10" documents, while Trump held onto "hundreds."
Further echoing the Democrat party line, Rove also suggested that Biden may have innocently misplaced the documents. The segment aired before more documents were reported at Biden's home.
"How did they get there? We don’t yet know how the documents got to the Biden office connected with his activities on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania. We know that President Trump ordered the removal of the documents to Mar-a-Lago," he said.
While appearing to defend Biden, Rove suggested that Trump had it coming when the FBI raided his home last year, the first time such an aggressive law enforcement action has been taken against a U.S. president.
Biden notified the government "immediately," while Trump withheld records until the police "had to" raid his home and recover them, Rove said.
"When the Biden people found out about it, they called immediately, called the appropriate authorities and turned them over. We spent a year and a half watching the drama unfold in Mar-a-Lago, and it had to end in a police search to recover the documents."
Rove's commentary angered former President Trump, who said the Bush ally was "as usual, wrong."
Rove conceded that Biden's Justice Department will have a hard time charging Trump now without having it look political, although Rove said the public would be wrong to "conflate" the two situations.
"But still, despite the differences, this is going to create lots of headaches for the Department of Justice in deciding how to handle President Trump’s issues, because now they have an issue that, in, at least in the minds of a lot of ordinary Americans, are going to be conflated as being roughly the same."
Rove isn't the only traditional Republican who appears to be emboldened by recent polling trends that appear to show Trump losing some momentum. Former Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump a "proven loser" who is "fading fast."
"I think we are moving past Trump,” he added. “I really think that’s the case. I can’t imagine him getting the nomination, frankly.”