Disappointing midterm elections results for the Republicans have left former President Donald Trump with few political friends.
As the results of Tuesday’s elections came in and it became increasingly apparent that there would not be a “red wave,” as many had predicted, some high-profile conservative figures and media outlets have blamed Trump and urged the party to leave him behind as the GOP sets its sights on 2024.
Even though some Republicans were battling for Trump’s endorsement in the GOP primaries, Trump-backed candidates failed to win their races in a number of key swing states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Kansas, on Tuesday. The results suggested that MAGA-brand candidates are unable to replicate the political success that the former president had in 2016.
“Republicans are looking at Trump perhaps even more carefully at this moment,” Audrey Haynes, an associate political science professor at the University of Georgia, told Newsweek. “He comes with risks.”
GOP Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida touched on the problems with GOP candidates in a Wednesday op-ed for The Daily Caller, although he stressed his loyalty to the former president and voiced support for a possible Trump run in 2024.
“Only Trump can be trusted to enact the ‘America First’ agenda he ran on in 2016,” Gaetz wrote.
Then on Thursday he tweeted, “McCarthy, McConnell, McDaniel, McFailure,” notably leaving out Trump’s name as he faulted top Republicans (House Minority Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel) for the party’s defeats in the midterms.
Former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller also suggested that McConnell was to blame for GOP’s Senate losses, even as others pointed to Trump.
“If Mitch had spent in Arizona — instead of blackballing Blake [Masters] and funneling money in Alaska to defeat the de fact GOP nominee — Blake would have already won handily. This was a deliberate choice,” Miller tweeted on Wednesday.
But Gaetz’s and Miller’s unwavering support for Trump is becoming rare within the Republican Party. Faced with Tuesday’s uncertain outlook for control of Congress, many of the former president’s closest allies have remained mum about the former president in the wake of Election Day. Even Florida Senator Rick Scott, whom Trump touted as a “likely candidate” to replace McConnell as the party’s Senate leader, has refused to say whether he’d support Trump if he runs for a second term.
As many Trump loyalists distance themselves from the former president, Trump is left with a much smaller pool of supporters, like Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, who said that while there’s “going to be some reflection” on the results of the midterms, Trump should still be the face of the Republican Party.
Speaking on radio’s Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show on Wednesday, Jordan said he’d let Trump decide when to announce a 2024 campaign, adding that he’s “supported President Trump” and believes he did more in the White House “than any president we’ve ever had.”
But no supporter is as staunch as Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who not only continues to support a Trump run in 2024 but called out Republicans who fault the former president for the GOP’s midterm losses.
On Wednesday, Greene told longtime Trump ally and former adviser Steve Bannon that blaming the ex-president is “shortsighted and ridiculous.”
“That is a lazy, pathetic, wimpy, easy mindset,” Greene said on Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic podcast. “President Trump isn’t the problem. President Trump is doing everything he can to help Republicans across this country.
“We have to wrap up [election security] issues instead of blaming one man,” the congresswoman said. “I’m not going to have that today. It needs to end, and I’m sick and tired of it.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s representatives for comment.