Trump tells donors: There are some Senate Republicans I don't want to help on Election Day

Trump tells donors: There are some Senate Republicans I don't want to help on Election Day

Which senators is he reluctant to help?

He doesn’t mean … the one who loyally voted for Kavanaugh and then for acquittal on impeachment before casting a completely meaningless no vote against Amy Coney Barrett to protect herself in her blue home state, does he?

Nah, c’mon. He must mean Ben Sasse, whose reelection is so assured in deep red Nebraska that I’m prone to forgetting that his seat is up this year.

It’s bananas, by the way, that the president is telling donors that the Senate will be hard to hold but that Republicans might take back the House. There are only two certainties next Tuesday, one being that he’ll lose the popular vote and the other that Democrats will still control the House next year. It’ll be a small mercy if they don’t end up gaining seats, frankly.

“I think the Senate is tough actually. The Senate is very tough,” Trump said at a fundraiser Thursday at the Nashville Marriott, according to an attendee. “There are a couple senators I can’t really get involved in. I just can’t do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can’t help some of them. I don’t want to help some of them.”…

The president — in a sentiment not shared by many of his party’s top officials and strategists — said he instead thinks the Republicans “are going to take back the House.” And many strategists involved in Senate races say the party’s chances at keeping the chamber are undermined by the president’s unscripted, divisive rhetoric and his low poll numbers in key states…

Trump expressed optimism for Tillis’s chances in North Carolina.

“I think Tillis is getting back in this one because his opponent ended up having more affairs than you’re allowed to have at one time,” Trump said.

“More affairs than you’re allowed to have at one time” is a vintage Trumpy formulation, worthy of Bartlett’s. He went on to say that if Jeff Sessions had won the Republican Senate primary in Alabama he might have endorsed Democrat Doug Jones, a guy who voted to remove him from office. That’s how vindictive he’s feeling nowadays towards deputies who’ve disappointed him.

Pelosi was asked about his House prediction yesterday on TV and ended up basically chuckling at it:

Here’s why she’s skeptical:

Republicans aren’t winning back the House but they might hold the Senate if Trump can knock a few points off of Biden’s national lead. An interesting question is which Republican senators would want him campaigning for them at this point even if he were willing. Not Collins, who’s running a few points ahead of him in Maine. Probably not Cory Gardner either, as his state’s turning bluer and Trump is a liability there. And John Cornyn may be strong enough on his own in Texas that he doesn’t want Trump around antagonizing suburbanites.

What about the candidates who are running behind him, though — a reversal from 2016, when Senate Republicans tended to run ahead of him on Election Day? Thom Tillis, Martha McSally, Joni Ernst, even David Perdue in Georgia are all polling in the mid-40s and could benefit from Trump rallying the local troops on their behalf. And Lindsey Graham is in a dogfight because a small but stubborn group of Republicans continue to resist supporting him despite their support for Trump.

How many of those candidates are in trouble because of weak support among Trumpy populists, though? I’ll spot you Graham and McSally because of their “moderate” reputations, although McSally’s worried enough about suburbanites finding her *too* Trumpy that she’s had Nikki Haley drop by Arizona to lend her a little traditional-Republican cred. What about Tillis, though? Would he benefit from an extra push from Trump or should the president keep his distance to give Tillis a bit of “independent” appeal and let the momentum from Cal Cunningham’s sex scandal carry Tillis over the finish line?

I’ll leave you with McConnell sounding a gloomy note at an otherwise triumphant moment yesterday, the impending confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett. A lot of what we’ve done over the past four years will be undone soon enough, he sniffs. Barrett’s appointment is a notable exception.

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