Since running roughshod through the primary and general election, Donald Trump has enjoyed the support of Republicans in Congress who figured they were getting a president who would help them pass legislative goals. However, that hasn’t exactly been the case as the recent delay of the Senate healthcare bill vote showed. It appears the honeymoon between President Trump and the GOP could be coming to an end.
According to Politico, GOP officials and senators are concerned that President Trump’s impulsiveness is hurting the party’s chances to expand its slim Senate majority and may even have an effect on re-election chances for incumbents. The most recent instance occurred when Neveda’s Dean Heller (who campaigned on repealing Obamacare and one of the most vulnerable Republican senators) came out against the Senate’s ACA repeal bill and was targeted by America First Policies, a PAC connected to the White House, with $1 million attack ad campaign. After several senators complained about the ads directly to the President at the White House Tuesday, the PAC pulled the ads.
“I share the administration’s frustration on members wavering on repeal, but the answer is not to attack the most vulnerable member of the conference,” said Rob Jesmer, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director.
Elsewhere, Sen. Mitch McConnell is reportedly privately mad that the Republican National Committee has not opened the coffers for Alabama Sen. Luther Strange (who was appointed to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions). Strange faces a Republican primary in a special election that is expected to be very contentious. Per Politico:
Yet after weeks of requests, no RNC expenditures have been granted, and Senate Republican strategists began to wonder whether the requests had simply been lost in a bureaucratic logjam—or worse, whether the anti-establishment president was reluctant to have the national party wade into a contested primary.
McConnell and Strange have personally talked to Trump and chief of staff Reince Priebus about funding, but have yet to get it. A similar story is playing out in Arizona where Sen. Jeff Flake, who has criticized the President in the past, faces an uphill battle in the Republican primary that is expected to at least two Trump allies.
There are other instances of Trump not exactly helping the Republicans, in the story, too. The most illustrative happened in Florida, always a swing state, where Trump recently said that he wanted Republican Governor Rick Scott to run for Senate in 2018, a comment made extremely early in the cycle without other potential Republicans who may want to run in mind. “I hope he runs for Senate,” he said, before interrupting himself. “I know I’m not supposed to say that.”
Go ahead, pop some popcorn and read the whole thing. 2018 might be fun.