Trump Is Taking Down Names as Republicans Begin Jumping Ship on His ‘Totally Off the Rails’ Campaign
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
For the past few weeks, Donald Trump and close allies have been keeping an eye on prominent conservatives who the president believes will want to throw him under the bus if he loses his reelection offer.
Two people who spoke with Trump say the president has voiced suspicions that members of his own party believe he will be defeated by Joe Biden. That sense of paranoia has been fed by the president's aides and confidants who brought in recent reports of Republican politicians either openly criticizing his behavior or trying to distance themselves from a possible election bloodbath. According to one of the sources with direct knowledge, the president is already considering retaliation.
"[The president] said something about the effect, if you back off him now, don't bother asking a favor if he wins," said the other source. "He commented on how there are some people you can only rely on when things are going the way you want them to."
Part of the coverage that has been bookmarked for Trump includes breaking reports on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who not only split with the president on the issue of coronavirus stimulus legislation but also pointed out that he hadn't been to the White House in weeks because I was carefree approaching the pandemic.
Trump's friction with Republican senators goes beyond that. Last week, the President attacked Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on Twitter for "a bad rumor" that she was going to stand against his Supreme Court candidate, Amy Coney Barrett. He said of the endangered incumbent: “Not worth the work!” - a small thing that Trump strategists sighed and found that it was absolutely unnecessary. Trump already has enough votes for Barrett's approval.
Additionally, in Trump's inner sanctuary, there is strong suspicion that Sen. Ben Sasse's (R-NE) office leaked the contents of a call with voters punishing the president for embracing dictators and failing to convict conspirators . Trump's anger over the call boiled over with another Twitter attack on Saturday.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who recently made two statements chastising what he saw as a caustic turn in national policy, has also rolled a little in the eye. Noteworthy in these statements was the condemnation of Trump and no criticism for Biden.
"You hate to see it, but after you've been on Capitol Hill, speaking against your own party is a great way to get attention," said former MP Jack Kingston (R-GA), who has been Years as official Trump acts as a surrogate. "Ben Sasse is a smart guy and I'm sorry he decided this was the time to shoot, [but] I don't know how it helps the swing state [Republicans] either ... But you see the ideological people still do not break. If Ralph Reed said, "OK, I'm out of here," it would be different. "
But those who signal they are ready to jump ship include some key players in conservative politics. One of the president's most powerful and influential confidants, billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has told his staff that he believes Biden will win in a landslide, The Daily Beast reported last week, and that he will be rejected by the COVID's president's management. 19 crisis.
Trump puts the fate of the campaign on Oppo Research Hagel Mary
Sources familiar with the situation say Trump and Murdoch haven't spoken to each other in several weeks. A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the story, but Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement: "President Trump won in 2016 without the support of political insiders and will do it again. The president is backed by over 90 percent of Republicans, and our rally data shows that about a quarter of rally registrants aren't even registered as Republicans. "
The knives are not only intended for supposed Republican turncoats. Within the broad universe of GOP activists working to re-elect the president, blame for the state of the campaign has already begun. A senior Republican official who consulted with the campaign said that while staff were still confident the president could win, they were also increasingly alarmed - what the official described as: "gross incompetence in the way and." The way things were spent ”.
“I think there is a reality where this happens in a campaign. This is where people find out who is to blame, ”the officer said. When asked who would take on the bug, the source added, “There's no question [former campaign manager] Brad [Parscale] will take over a large chunk of it as it's easy to do. But anyone with a brain who looks back on it will refer to Jared [Kushner]. Jared can't be both mastermind and impeccable. "
In broader GOP circles, a bit of cold realism about Trump's prospects has prevailed. Few, if any, are Pollyannaic. The optimism that remains is linked to two features of the race: that the president faced similar skepticism (including within his own party) four years ago and is still winning; and that the Trump campaign invested significantly more in voter turnout in this case than in 2016.
"He doesn't win, but there was always a feeling he was in that position in , that it was going to get tighter and that we had this base game that will get us over the top," said a GOP official, who was involved in the re-selection effort.
But even this official admitted the limits of the spin. "A ground game is a field goal in a close game," said the referee. "It's not three touchdowns."
There was an expectation among Republican activists that Trump's electoral deficit on Biden would close with the upcoming election. The tightening didn't come as quickly as hoped, however, and explanations include the president's flammable debate performance, his infection with COVID, and the fact that he's been on the air.
There's also a growing consensus in the GOP advisory class that Trump has lost some of the political instincts that made him both unorthodox and effective in his 2016 run. It was then that Trump closed the campaign by largely sticking to the script, holding rallies, and only posting secular tweets. In this case, he has accepted wild conspiracies - like the staged raid on Osama bin Laden - and posted more Facebook ads attacking Hillary Clinton than tracking Biden in stores.
"I think it's difficult when you're in the White House, but it's different from 2016," the GOP official said. “They just don't have news discipline. It got completely out of hand the whole time. "
Trump wants to win. Why is he pretending to want to lose?
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