In the last week, President Trump has fired the director of the FBI, threatened him on Twitter, said that honesty is too much too expect from his staff, and suggested cancelling all White House press briefings. These behaviors, coupled with all the other meltdowns the President has had since his inauguration, have got Republicans very nervous for the 2018 midterm elections.
A report from POLITICO revealed that Republican strategists spent their time at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting frantically trying to plan for the elections, which will “test them in unimaginable ways.”
Randy Evans, a Republican National Committeeman from Georgia who was a top adviser to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said that everybody is confused right now trying to figure out how to handle a “non-politician” president.
‘I don’t think there is anything to compare it to. You have a non-politician who’s the president, so he doesn’t do things in a political way and that completely drives insiders of both parties bonkers because they don’t understand it. Right now, we’re just in a completely different and foreign political environment where pollsters and pundits and focus groups don’t matter.’
‘Anybody that tells you they have a feel for what’s going to happen next year is just delusional.’
During the 3-day meeting, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s executive director, John Rogers, delivered a presentation warning attendees about the challenges Republicans will face in 2018. He also pointed out that “far more vulnerable Republican incumbents represent districts that Hillary Clinton won than endangered Democratic incumbents in districts that Trump carried.”
He then issued a reminder that “midterm elections are historically unkind to the party in the White House.”
The primary message delivered throughout the meeting appears to be that Republicans are going to have to work very hard to maintain their majority in both the House and Senate. Jeff Essmann, Montana’s Republican Party chairman, said his party is going to have to “redouble” its efforts.
‘The bottom line is that we’ve got to recruit well, we’re going to have to raise a bunch of money. Democrats are upset that they lost, they didn’t think that was going to happen. They’re motivated, and we’re going to have to redouble our efforts.’
Potential candidates are reportedly already planning their strategy for distinguishing themselves from Trump. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer encouraged Republicans to differentiate themselves from the President by being inclusive and focusing on local issues.
After pointing out the fact that he spoke Spanish in the first TV ad of his campaign, Faulconer told attendees:
‘To be successful in California is to be successful across party lines. You have to have Democrats, you have to have independents, you have to have Republicans. That message of bringing people together is incredibly important.’
Trump did not attend the conference, but he did record a five-minute video message that played during the closing session. In that address, he said that he would be “working hard for the people running” for House and Senate seats in 2018.
‘Your commitment will help us keep the House in 2018 and gain more seats in the Senate. I’ll be going around to different states, I’ll be working hard for the people running for Congress and the people running for the Senate. We can gain a lot of seats, especially if it all keeps going like it’s going now.’
Trump may be confident, but other members of his party are clearly a bit more hesitant.
Featured image via Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images.