Most Republicans in the US Senate are hoping that former President Donald Trump does not announce to run again for the White House, fearing that could sink their chances of winning back the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.
All GOP senators, with a few exceptions, definitely don’t want to see Trump announce a bid before the 2022 midterm elections, but they’re also generally reluctant to see him on the ballot in 2024 at all because of his track record with independent and swing voters, The Hill reported on Sunday.
Several Republican senators, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington-based newspaper they don’t want to see Trump return as the Republican Party’s standard-bearer.
“I think we’re better off when he’s not part of any story,” said a Republican senator, who claimed his view is widely shared in the GOP conference.
“He’s a clinical narcissist. He threw away the election in the debate with Biden and he threw away the Senate out of spite,” the lawmaker added, referring to Trump’s first debate against Democratic candidate Joe Biden, which many Republican senators viewed as a disaster.
Most Republican senators believe Trump announcing a 2024 bid before the midterms would hurt them.
“The 2022 election ought to be about the Biden administration and its rolling disasters so anything that would detract from the public being focused on what Democratic governance is doing to this country would be ill-advised,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a Trump ally, when asked about the possibility Trump could announce his campaign in the next year.
Johnson, a top Democratic target next year, hasn’t decided whether to run for reelection, but expects Democrats to make the Wisconsin Senate race all about Trump.
“That’s what they always want to do. They want to distract and most of the mainstream media will be trying to do that as well. We need to focus — not only Republicans but the country needs to focus on what a disaster the Biden administration has been,” he said.
Republicans believe their midterm chances are good if the race is focused on Democratic President Biden’s agenda and record, provided his sinking approval ratings.
Another Republican senator said Trump’s reemergence as a candidate would help Democrats who want to make the midterms about Trump, regardless of whether he announces a 2024 presidential campaign.
“The way my colleagues see it, he’s an asset in the primaries if he’s with you and then it creates challenges in the general election,” said the lawmaker. “He’s different than any political person that I’ve ever known."
For months, Trump has floated the idea of a 2024 rematch against Biden. But in recent weeks, he has signaled strongly that he may be more likely to run again than not, according to a recent report.
Trump’s statements have intensified a collective headache for other would-be presidential contenders who have already started laying the groundwork for their own primary campaigns, according to the report.
Trump, who lost the 2020 election by millions of votes, was blamed for the January 6 Capitol attack. However, he has repeatedly denied responsibility for the violence, which saw his supporters besiege the Capitol to prevent the certification of Biden's victory in the November election.