GOP Senator Breaks With Trump For DeSantis After Losing Midterrms

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Per new reporting including from POLITICO, multiple GOP Senators aren’t exactly enthusiastic about the idea of Donald Trump announcing a 2024 presidential candidacy — and one, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, went in a direction sure to majorly irk the ex-president: declaring Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis the current “leader” of the GOP.

“I don’t think that’s the right question,” she said, when asked about her take on Donald potentially running for president for a third time in a row. “I think the question is: Who is the current leader of the Republican Party? Oh, I know who it is. It’s Ron DeSantis… I’m saying currently, Ron DeSantis is the leader of the Republican Party, whether he wants to be or not.” Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) were also dismissive. “It’s clear that running on relitigating the 2020 election is not a winning strategy,” Thune said. “I’m not endorsing anybody, at this point.” As for Cornyn, he shared an expectation of a competitive race for the nomination, remarking: “I’m sure I’ll support the nominee of the Republican Party, but I think there’s likely to be a competitive primary election.”

Lummis is obviously just one Senator, but the tide against Trump is growing. For some Republicans, it seems as much a tactical consideration as it is anything moral. Trump and his candidates just keep losing, whether that’s Donald’s defeat in the 2020 presidential race or the losses suffered by his picks in races for Senate this year in Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Democrats are holding onto the majority in the Senate for another two years, and depending on how the results from a Georgia runoff election turn out next month, the party could end up with an actually larger majority. In the House, the GOP looked set to end up barely in control by just one or two seats. With routine vacancies from resignations, scandal, illness, or death, who knows how much control over the chamber that Republicans will actually get to exert? A hypothetical special election in six months could change the party breakdown.

As for Trump, he looked likely to formally announce his bid for the presidency on Tuesday. DeSantis just won re-election as governor of Florida by a margin of nearly 20 percent after winning the first time by under one half of a percentage point, so he’s clearly on a winning streak, and his popularity no doubt boosted other Republican candidates in Florida, where the party will now control super-majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. There is also polling showing DeSantis beating Trump in a Republican primary match-up at both the state and national levels, and the state polling is out of large states with a lot of delegates like Florida and Texas. In terms of tactical success, that’s the DeSantis record. Obviously either guy would be destructive in the presidency, but there’s one who’s winning and one, who in real, substantive terms, is objectively a massive loser.