Trump’s bluster over the midterms is fooling no one
Not unlike other Republicans who have chosen to retire in recent years, Pat Toomey has some things to say. The Pennsylvania senator, who is retiring from his seat at the end of the current session of Congress, did not mince his words about the contest to elect his replacement.
Asked by CNN about how Republicans lost that particular contest to replace him – with Democrat John Fetterman beating the GOP’s Mehmet Oz – Toomey was blunt that “President Trump inserting himself into the race… was never going to be helpful.”
Donald Trump had endorsed Dr Oz, saying back in April that the celebrity doctor who rose to fame on The Oprah Winfrey Show would “stop the radical left maniacs from destroying our country”. Mr Trump also rallied with Dr Oz on the final weekend before the general election.
Mr Toomey also told CNN: “We were in a moment, we were in a cycle, we were at a time when it’s good for Republicans for the race to be about President Biden, who is not popular, whose policies have failed. Instead, President Trump had to insert himself, and that changed the nature of the race.”
He isn’t wrong: these latest midterms will be remembered as much for high-profile losses for candidates backed by Mr Trump as much as for marking the satisfaction of the electorate with Joe Biden’s time in office.
Mr Toomey added: “All over the country, there’s a very high correlation between Maga [Make America Great Again] candidates and big losses, or at least dramatically
It is still probably a case of when, not if, Mr Trump announces another run at the White House for the 2024 election, but it will be interesting to see how many Republicans line up behind Ron DeSantis
underperforming.” In Mr Toomey’s state of Pennsylvania, the Trump-backed Doug Mastriano also lost the governor’s race by 15 points, a large margin in a usually closely-fought state.
This is not to say that all Trump-endorsed candidates lost across the country – there were wins too. But not enough to stop the prevailing narrative that Mr Trump has dragged the party down. As might be expected, Mr Trump declared a “big victory” on the Truth Social website and there will be a section of the Republican Party that will follow his example no matter what. But it is clear that others in the GOP want this to be the last time Mr Trump plays such a dominant role in a crucial election.
It is still probably a case of when, not if, Mr Trump announces another run at the White House for the 2024 election, but it will be interesting to see how many Republicans line up behind Ron DeSantis, who won a convincing victory for the governorship of Florida and has proven to be a match for Mr Trump when it comes to fundraising in recent months. Mr Trump might not get things all his own way.
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