Trump told to delay 2024 announcement after GOP midterm struggles

“I’ll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff,” said one former adviser to Mr Trump

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 10 November 2022 16:36 GMT
Related video: Smirking Biden says he’s enjoying DeSantis-Trump rivalry

Some allies of former President Donald Trump have called on him to delay his 2024 campaign announcement following the Republicans’ lackluster midterm performance.

They argued that the full focus of the GOP must be on Georgia where Republican Herschel Walker and Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock will face off in a runoff election on 6 December after neither were able to cross the threshold of 50 per cent of the votes in the midterms.

Mr Trump has signalled that he was set to announce another campaign for the White House on Tuesday next week.

Former Trump adviser Jason Miller was with Mr Trump at Mar-a-Lago on election night.

“I’ll be advising him that he move his announcement until after the Georgia runoff,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “Georgia needs to be the focus of every Republican in the country right now.”

Mr Trump endorsed more than 330 candidates in the midterms, many of which lacked experience and were heavily flawed. While Mr Trump celebrated their GOP primary wins, their radical stances on abortion and supporting Mr Trump’s lies about the 2020 election were not in sync with the wider electorate.

Some big senate wins for Mr Trump included JD Vance in Ohio and Ted Budd in North Carolina.

But Trump-backed Senate nominee Mehmet Oz lost in Pennsylvania to Democrat John Fetterman and candidates supported by Mr Trump also lost governors’ races in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Michigan as well as a race for the senate in New Hampshire.

Republicans believed that record-high inflation and President Joe Biden’s low approval rating would deliver them substantial majorities in both chambers of Congress.

Some are now saying that Mr Trump is a drag on the party and that it’s time for fresh blood to lead them.

Scott Reed, a longtime GOP strategist told the AP: “I mean, we had a historic opportunity and Trump’s recruitment of unelectable candidates blew it for us.”

“Trump’s now lost three elections in a row for the Republican Party and it’s time to snap out of this foolishness,” he added, arguing that the GOP “had everything going for us – money, the issue agenda, Biden being in the tank,” but that Mr Trump’s attempts to remain the centre of attention by hinting at another White House run during the midterm campaign “obviously worked up a lot of independents and Democrats to turn out and vote”.

Chris Christie, a former Republican governor of New Jersey and previous friend of Mr Trump now heavily critical of him, said Republicans “have a fundamental decision to make”.

Mr Christie, who’s also thinking about a 2024 run, told the AP that “we lost in ‘18. We lost in ’20. We lost in ’21 in Georgia. And now in ’22 we’re going to net lose governorships, we’re not going to pick up the number of seats in the House that we thought and we may not win the Senate despite a president who has a 40 per cent job approval”.

“There’s only one person to blame for that and that’s Donald Trump. The only animating factor [for him] in determining an endorsement is, ’Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen or don’t you?’” Mr Christie told the news agency. “It’s not, ‘Can you raise money?’ It’s not, ‘Do you have an articulatable vision for the future of your state or your district?’ It’s not evidence of past success in communicating to voters. It is a completely self-centered determination.”

Mr Trump claimed to be happy with the midterm results.

“While in certain ways yesterday’s election was somewhat disappointing, from my personal standpoint it was a very big victory - 219 WINS and 16 Losses in the General - Who has ever done better than that?” he wrote on Truth Social on Wednesday.

Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich claimed to the AP: “As President Trump looks to the future, he will continue to champion his America First agenda that won overwhelmingly at the ballot box last night.”

Former Trump adviser David Urban told the outlet that “of course, he’s going to claim victory, right? The president touts an accomplishment record that includes victories in uncontested races. He can say whatever he wants. But how do people feel in America? I think people feel not great about the Trump brand right now. It’s bad”.

Former Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, now a Fox News pundit, said on the network that Mr Trump shouldn’t announce a campaign until after the Georgia senate runoff.

“I think he needs to put it on pause,” she said.

Regarding if Mr Trump should join the campaign for the runoff, she said, “I think we’ve got to make strategic calculations. Governor DeSantis, I think he should be welcomed to the state, given what happened last night. You’ve got to look at the realities on the ground”.

Republican strategist Alex Conant told the AP that “Trump has been weak for a long time but it wasn’t clear who the alternative was”.

“For the first time, Trump really has a formidable rival within the party,” he added regarding Mr DeSantis, who he said had a lot of “momentum”.

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