Around the country, Trump allies are well positioned to guard his interests.
The former co-chairman of his New Hampshire campaign, Stephen Stepanek, is now head of the state GOP.
In South Carolina, which has traditionally held one of the most crucial Republican primaries, there is talk of cancelling the vote, thus sparing Trump a contest. “Why have taxpayers pay for a primary?” state GOP chairman Drew McKissick said on CNN. “Our party totally supports the president.”
Even those professing neutrality, like Iowa’s Scheffler, don’t hide their desire to shield Trump from attack.
While vague about the consequences — “I can’t tell you that right now” — Scheffler cited two of the president’s well-known nemeses, former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and the state’s late Sen. John McCain, as crossing a line that would not be tolerated ahead of the 2020 caucuses. “It’s OK to have public policy differences,” Scheffler said of Trump’s would-be opponents, but not to be “very negative in tone.”