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Trump, IVF, a government shutdown? The GOP is in complete disarray.

After winning the Republican primary in South Carolina this weekend, Donald Trump said he has “never seen the Republican Party so unified.”

Trump says a lot of things, few or which are true, but that one’s enough to break the LOL-o-meter.

Allow me to deviate momentarily from the steady flow of inane “Should the Democrats replace Joe Biden?” think pieces to say this: The Trump-led Republican Party is in disarray. It’s one large tent shy of a circus. It’s a black hole into which normalcy disappears.

Trump's not really dominating, and the GOP has a host of other issues

Here are a few facts – remember those things? – about the GOP as it enters another week of entropy.

Trump did soundly beat Nikki Haley in the South Carolina primary Saturday. But he did not resoundingly beat her. Haley claimed about 40% of the vote. When you consider that Trump winning the GOP nomination seems all but inevitable, having 40% of your base not vote for you is, in the parlance of political strategists, not good.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) ORG XMIT: SCMS308
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) ORG XMIT: SCMS308

As Haley said after the loss: “There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primaries who are saying they want an alternative.”

That doesn’t sound like unity. Adding to Trump’s electoral trouble, exit polls showed that nearly 60% of the people who voted for Haley would not support Trump in the November election, and 36% of all South Carolina primary voters said that if Trump gets convicted in one of his myriad criminal cases, they'll deem him unfit for office.

Why not Haley? Nikki Haley dominates Biden in polls. Why are Republican primary voters so stuck on Trump?

And no, Haley's numbers weren't inflated by Democrats allowed to vote in the South Carolina GOP primary – only a tiny percentage of them showed up. But Haley did win big among a swath of voters who will be pivotal in the general election: She took 62% of the votes from people who identify as independent.

Republicans also face a government shutdown, so that's fun

Beyond the non-juggernautish Trump, congressional Republicans march into this week with a government shutdown looming and a House speaker, Mike Johnson, who seems incapable of herding the cats that make up his caucus.

Having recently rejected a bipartisan border deal hashed out in the Senate, the House may well get hung up on government funding because of GOP lawmaker demands for ... wait for it ... a border deal.

GOP won't actually fix border: Fixing the border crisis is bad for Trump and good for Biden. That's the problem.

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., told NBC News on Sunday: “I will not be voting for any funding if the border is not secured.”

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) following his speech during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2024, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) following his speech during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2024, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

House Speaker Mike Johnson will be lucky to survive the shutdown fight

And there’s the general chaos-monsters, like Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Ewwwww, who bragged to a crowd of conservatives Friday that he has made Congress “a living hell” for many of his fellow Republicans, whom he kindly labeled “swamp rats.”

Haley lost her home state: South Carolina Republicans told me why they want Trump and why Haley lost her home state

The most likely path forward is for Johnson to push through another continuing resolution to keep the government open and stall for time, but that’s what drove the MAGA elements of the House GOP caucus to boot Kevin McCarthy from the speakership. Or as Trump might call it, “An act of great GOP unity.”

GOP Biden impeachment is in tatters. And there's the whole IVF thing.

While struggling to accomplish the absolute basics – like keeping the government running – Republicans have recently seen their unmoored-from-reality Biden impeachment inquiry crumble into dust.

They had to reckon with an Alabama Supreme Court ruling that declared frozen embryos – the kind used in in vitro fertilization – are people, causing major hospitals and clinics in the state to temporarily halt IVF services.

President Joe Biden speaks about the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 23, 2024, in Manassas, Va., to campaign for abortion rights.
President Joe Biden speaks about the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 23, 2024, in Manassas, Va., to campaign for abortion rights.

GOP lawmakers have rushed to defend IVF – which is exceedingly popular across party lines – but they’re struggling with this incongruity: 125 House Republicans are co-sponsors of something called the Life at Conception Act, which has no exceptions for IVF and mirrors the language used by the Alabama high court in its ruling.

It’s tricky to say: “We in no way support this thing we all signed on to and are trying to get passed into law!”

Republicans are doing nothing to help make people like them

GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, when first asked about his state's Supreme Court ruling, made clear that he doesn’t understand how much of anything works, first saying he was “for it” because “we need more kids” then, upon learning the ruling might suspend IVF services, saying, “That’s a hard one.”

It also doesn’t help dispel the “we’re turning America into ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ ” vibe when Republicans like Rep. Donalds go on television and praise IVF by saying: “It helps them breed great families. Our country needs that.”

Alabama cares about frozen embryos. The health of children and adults? Not so much.

As GOP reels, Trump prepares to drain the RNC to pay his legal bills

And of course, back to Trump, the party’s likely presidential nominee has pushed for his own daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to co-chair the Republican National Committee, and she has said that the party should help pay Trump’s legal fees.

Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former president Donald Trump, during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2024, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of former president Donald Trump, during the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2024, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

Among other legal fees, Trump now owes New York at least $454 million for committing fraud – with $112,000 in interest piling up each day – and $83.3 million for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll.

In total, that’s about $537 million, which is about $537 million more than what Biden owes in civil penalties, because Biden has never been found liable for fraud and defamation.

If this is GOP unity, I'd hate to see GOP division

All of these inconvenient facts lead Trump to one conclusion: “I have never seen the Republican Party so unified as it is right now.”

Indeed. Everything’s running like a well-oiled engine.

One that’s powering a train running right off the tracks.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on X, formerly Twitter, @RexHuppke and Facebook facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump shows weakness with voters, GOP faces shutdown. This is 'unity'?