Nov 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump's new torments: Midterms dent invincibility

New York Post covers from Wednesday (left) and today capture Trump's new pressure.

Some allies of President Trump are considering distancing themselves from his presumptive 2024 presidential campaign after Tuesday night's Republican disappointments across the map.

Why it matters: Trump's involvement in Pennsylvania's Senate race, which the GOP lost — plus his endorsement of hard-right House candidates who lost or are struggling — dented his aura as a power broker.

  • "Trump’s invincible … until he’s suddenly not," a former senior Trump administration official said.
  • "But after so many false alarms, no one knows when will be the time we look back at and say: 'In retrospect, it was over then — we just couldn’t know for sure in the moment.'"

What we're hearing: Tuesday's quick disaster in Pennsylvania clouded what might be a more tolerable final outcome for Trump-endorsed candidates.

  • Trumpworld is holding out hope that he could still come up with wins in the too-close-to-call Senate races in Nevada and Arizona.
  • Kari Lake, the Trump-aligned candidate for Arizona governor, is also still fighting a neck-and-neck race.

Behind the scenes: Some of Trump’s top advisers want him to delay his "big announcement" — likely of a 2024 presidential campaign — until after the Georgia runoff election on Dec. 6.

  • But Trump has made clear he has no intention of listening to that advice, at least for now.

Zoom out: Many Republican elites and influential GOP lawmakers have been done with Trump for a long while — and felt even more done with him after Tuesday night.

  • Several well-known Republicans declined an opportunity to tell Swan on the record that they feel it’s time to move on from Trump.
  • Their desire to keep their views private shows that Trump, and his hold over a hardcore portion of the base, still scares them.

What's next: All GOP eyes will be on the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting in Las Vegas at the end of next week.

  • Trump isn't in the speaker lineup. But it's a who’s-who of potential 2024 opponents: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
  • The event will test the extent to which these high-profile Republicans are willing to confront Trump, rather than resort to euphemism and throwing shade like they often do.

The other thing we're watching — and haven't yet seen — is whether GOP megadonors start to publicly repudiate Trump.

  • Ken Griffin — the billionaire CEO and big Republican donor, endorsed DeSantis in an interview published by Politico this week.
  • "For a litany of reasons, I think it’s time to move on to the next generation,” Griffin said.

Reality check: The recriminations for Tuesday's underwhelming results haven't all flown in one direction.

  • Trump allies have second-guessed the decision by Mitch McConnell's outside group to pour millions into helping Dr. Mehmet Oz — a Trump-backed candidate who lost decisively in Pennsylvania — and abandoning Blake Masters in Arizona. (That race is uncalled.)
  • The McConnell team judged that the Democrat in Pennsylvania, John Fetterman (who won) was a riper target for negative ads than Masters' opponent, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), a former astronaut.

The intrigue: Pence’s memoir, "So Help Me God," will be out next Tuesday, giving him a big burst of media attention.

  • An excerpt was published on Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal, and quickly made the rounds in GOP circles.
  • The headline: "My Last Days With Donald Trump."
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