Trump's new torments: Midterms dent invincibility
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."