The aftermath of the first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden triggered a reckoning among Republicans on Wednesday about the incumbent’s incendiary remarks on white supremacy and his baseless claims of electoral fraud, with GOP officials privately expressing alarm about the fallout with key voters as the president’s allies argued that he electrified his core supporters…

But few Republicans voiced outrage in the wake of Trump’s norm-shattering spectacle in Cleveland on Tuesday, including his statement that the extremist Proud Boys, a male-only far-right group known for street violence, should “stand back and stand by.” Responses ranged from silence to muted criticism, reflecting how the GOP remains convinced that an alliance with Trump and his voters is crucial for their survival…

“This election is drifting toward what feels like a blowout [victory for Biden], and there needs to be some type of event that changes that. The debate was a chance to change the direction, and while it might be too early to be seen, there is no real reason to believe it was a game-changer,” said Brendan Buck, a former top adviser to the past two Republican House speakers, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and John A. Boehner of Ohio.

Former senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a Trump critic who stays in touch with former colleagues, said the private alarm in Senate GOP circles “is palpable.”