Election: Trump Forces Republican Field To Sidestep Direct Challenge To Biden
No notable Republican has declared outright a challenge to President Biden in 2024. But plenty of them are flocking to Iowa courting activists, establishing political action committees and trotting out their best digs against Democrats signaling that the GOP presidential primary is already underway.
This cycle, however, has a Trump-induced twist. As the former president keeps Republicans guessing whether he will run again, politicians are being especially circumspect about their own White House aspirations.
“Usually, when the race is over and don’t win … the very next day, the race is on,” said Bob Vander Plaats, president of the Family Leader, an influential network of Christian activists in the state. “That hasn’t been the case so much. A lot of people are still asking, ‘What is Trump going to do?'”
The looming question has added an extra degree of coyness as possible contenders cozy up to voters in Iowa, which traditionally has held the first contest of the nominating season. Despite some prominent conservatives in the state sensing desire for a new Republican standard-bearer, politicians are assiduously working not to alienate Trump, who still enjoys broad popularity with the party’s base
The bold-faced GOP names who have visited so far include former Vice President Mike Pence Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Rick Scott of Florida ex-Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Sen Marco Rubio Of Florida
Like Cruz, Rubio would enter the 2024 presidential race with heightened name ID and experience from his 2016 run. One of Rubios biggest challenges, though, could be his fellow Floridians. If DeSantis and fellow Sen. Rick Scott run, there could be just one ticket out of Florida, a Republican strategist said.
Rubio, 49, is married to Jeanette Dousdebes and they have four children. He graduated from the University of Florida and University of Miami School of Law and was speaker of the Florida House of Representatives before running for U.S. Senate in 2010.
Why Donald Trump Is Republicans’ Worst Nightmare In 2024
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
Earlier this week, amid a rambling attack on the validity of the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump said this: “Interesting that today a poll came out indicating I’m far in the lead for the Republican Presidential Primary and the General Election in 2024.”
“Trump is confiding in allies that he intends to run again in 2024 with one contingency: that he still has a good bill of health, according to two sources close to the former president. That means Trump is going to hang over the Republican Party despite its attempts to rebrand during his exile and its blockade of a Trump-centric investigation into January’s insurrection.”“Manhattan prosecutors pursuing a criminal case against former President Donald Trump, his company and its executives have told at least one witness to prepare for grand jury testimony, according to a person familiar with the matter — a signal that the lengthy investigation is moving into an advanced stage.”
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‘youre Along For The Ride’
Sasse, who is considered a safe bet for reelection in 2020, slammed Trump during a call with constituents this week, saying he “kisses dictators’ butts” and has “flirted with white supremacists.”
The Nebraska Republican was answering a constituent’s question about his relationship with Trump, and the senator’s past criticism of the president.
“The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers,” Sasse said during a call with some 17,000 constituents.
“The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership. The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticized President Obama for that kind of spending, I’ve criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with white supremacists.”
Sasse’s jabs at Trump drew national headlines. But Republicans who try to distance themselves from the president and his sagging approval ratings aren’t expected to see much benefit, analysts said.
“Theres no world where distance actually works. Its kind of like youre along for the ride,” the GOP strategist who focuses on congressional contests said.
Problems For A Gop Senate Veteran
Few GOP senators have had to navigate the Trump presidency like Susan Collins of Maine, who is seeking a fifth term.
A self-described moderate, she has criticized the president’s rhetoric on racial justice and condemned the administration’s removal of protesters outside the White House in June. But she voted against his impeachment, supported his tax cut bill in 2017 and voted for his two previous Supreme Court nominees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Her vote in 2018 to confirm Kavanaugh still rankles moderates and Democrats. But she might have quelled some of that anger with her announcement last month before Trump nominated Barrett that she would not vote for Ginsburg’s successor this close to an election.
Polls show her slightly behind Democratic challenger Sarah Gideon in a state Trump lost narrowly four years ago and, according to polls, he could lose in November by double digits.
“She has to be careful,” Brewer said, adding that Collins has to keep the GOP base behind her while still attracting independents and moderate Democrats who carried her to victory in past elections.
Friday morning, Trump made threading that needle even tougher when he tweeted about a “nasty rumor” that Collins would not support Barrett’s nomination.
Contributing: Savannah Behrmann
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Sen Rick Scott Of Florida
Scott, 68, is a first-term senator whose biggest asset could be his fundraising. During his 2018 campaign, he raised more than $20 million, in addition to $63 million of his own money he chipped in, according to Politico, and hes also chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Scott and his wife, Ann Holland, have two children, and he was previously the governor of Florida.
Sen Ted Cruz Of Texas
Cruz, 50, could start out a 2024 election campaign in a much stronger position than his first run in 2016, when he came in second. Its not uncommon for Republicans to select the recent runner up to later be their nominee which is what happened to Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole and Ronald Reagan.
A lot has happened to Cruz since 2016. For one, he became an ardent Trump supporter and grew a beard. But Cruz has also learned lessons from his first presidential run. Should he run again in the 2024 election, hed be a much more experienced campaigner with a more finely tuned message, higher name ID, and a carefully maintained donor base, one Republican strategist said.
Cruz has also faced backlash for objecting to President Joe Bidens Electoral College win. Following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, seven Democrats asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., for amplifying claims of election fraud that led to violence. In Texas, the Republican Accountability Project paid for 100 billboards calling on Cruz to resign. Cruz also angered some close to him, like a longtime friend and former campaign chair who denounced him, and his chief spokesperson, who resigned, according to the Dallas Morning News.
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Gop Congressman Posts Video Depicting Violence Against Aoc And Biden
Former President Donald Trump made his return to campaign politics last month by trekking to northern Ohio to take revenge on one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him: Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.
Sen Tim Scott Of South Carolina
Scott showed up in the February Morning Consult/Politico poll as one of a handful of other 2024 presidential candidates respondents would vote for in 2024.
When Scott, 55, spoke at last summers Republican National Convention, he mentioned fairness and equality, and listed the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor among the events that had tested the nation. It was an optimistic speech, and it sounded unlike anything we were used to hearing from the Trump-era Republican Party.
Scott was first elected to the Charleston County Council in 1995. He then served in the South Carolina House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. House for two terms. In 2013, he became the first African American since Reconstruction to represent a southern state in the U.S. Senate. He is unmarried.
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Shes No : Report Claims Kamala Harris Staff Feels They Are Treated Like St
The Democratic officials who spoke to Axios said that in addition to Harrishandling of high-profile issues and political tone deafness, they fear shes been given bad advice by her press and communications people.
Harris still has her defenders, including senior adviser and chief spokesperson Symone Sanders, as well as White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond, who accused unnamed people of carrying out a whisper campaign designed to sabotage her.
At some point it just becomes, one person says something long enough and it becomes an urban legend. It doesnt have to be credible. It doesnt have to be real. Someone says something and it can just snowball, Richmond told Axios, later adding: Youd just hope if theres a legitimate criticism theyd put their name next to it.
Meanwhile, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain offered unreserved praise for Harris, telling Axios she was off to the fastest and strongest start of any Vice President I have seen.
At a news conference Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Harris an incredibly important partner to the President of the United States. She has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great, supportive team of people around her.
But other than that, Psaki added, Im not going to have any more comments on those reports.
Florida Gov Ron Desantis
DeSantis, 42, has quickly emerged as a Republican rising star. He finished second in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll in February behind Trump, and some see him as the best positioned heir to the Trump mantle.
If Trump doesnt run again, I think hes the odds-on favorite to be the next president, Florida Republican Party chair and state Sen. Joe Gruters told NBC News of DeSantis.
DeSantis appeal is due in part to his combative relationship with the news media he regularly spars with journalists, interrupting or pushing back against their questions in a way Trump fans would appreciate and also because of his handling of the pandemic.
In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, DeSantis wrote that Floridas less-restrictive response to COVID-19 bucked faulty intel from the elites and the state still ended up with comparatively low unemployment, and per capita COVID mortality below the national average. Floridas COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 people is similar to California and Ohio, and so far, about 33,500 Floridians have died from the virus. New research in the American Journal of Public Health suggests the state is undercounting COVID-19 deaths.
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Led By Giuliani Trump Campaign Effort To Stop Certification Falters In Pennsylvania
Although Wisconsin does not have automatic recounts, state law allows a losing candidate behind by 1% to file a sworn petition, along with a filing fee. The state will only pay for a recount if the margin of victory is .25% or less.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission it had received a $3 million wire transfer from the campaign to cover the estimated cost of the recounts.
No petition has been received yet, but the Trump campaign has told WEC staff one will be filed today, the tweet said.
Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Dean Knudson also about the cash transfer Wednesday morning.
Wisconsin law allows candidate behind under 1% to request recount, either full statewide or selected wards, with payment of estimated costs upfront. Formal petition& paymt due 5pm today. Est full cost $8M. Trump paid $3M overnight. #wisconsinrecount 1/2
Election workers count absentee ballots earlier this month in Detroit, the county seat of Wayne County, Mich.
Officials in Michigans most populous county reversed course and certified its election results Tuesday evening, just a few hours after a surprising party-line deadlock suddenly cast the certification of more than 800,000 votes in doubt. Wayne County voted overwhelmingly for President-elect Joe Biden.
It stood for just about three hours under withering criticism, as residents made their complaints clear during a public comment period and local and national leaders lambasted the two members decision online.
This Republican Is Running Against Donald Trump Is Anybody Listening
Bill Weld thinks GOP voters should bail on the president. So why is he making his case to independents?
Erick Trickey is a writer in Boston.
MANCHESTER, N.H. â Bill Weld leans back in a chair, hand on his hip, and talks about the Republican Party like someone whoâs been away for a while and is trying to get used to all the new developments. âI know a lot of the Republicans in Washington, and theyâre good people,â? says the sandy-haired, ruddy-faced primary challenger to Donald Trump. âTheyâre just cowed by this president somehow.â?
This was three days into his long-shot bid for president, and the former Massachusetts governor is talking in a Hilton Garden Inn lounge that looks out on the New Hampshire Fisher Catsâ minor league baseball field. On his campaignâs opening day, Weld declared heâd chase Trump as ferociously as a fisher cat, the weasel-like native of New Hampshire known for eating porcupines. But the president seems not to have noticed he has an angry 73-year-old on his tail, at least not one from his own party Trump hasnât aimed so much as a tweet at his erstwhile opponent or bothered to taunt him with a nickname. Weld, however, is basically screaming at the TV. Heâs worked up over a news report that Trump aides fear the presidentâs âwrathâ? because they talked to special counsel Robert Mueller.
The question is: Are they listening?
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Why Are The Gops Heavyweights Afraid To Run Against Trump
Joe Walsh has guts, lets give him that. But there are problematic matters in his past, too. Why are the decent Republicans such fraidy-cats?
You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
That was Donald Rumsfeld talking about the Iraq war, but he might as well have been talking about the Republicans who are willing to primary Donald Trump.
Sane Republicans are too afraid to take such a risk. Ben Sasse isnt going to do this. Nikki Haley isnt going to do this. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan isnt going to do this. Every Never Trumper is, by now, presumed to understand this.
When having something to lose is a disqualifier, that leaves only the quixotic and the has-beens.
Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld has, until Sunday, been the sole Republican willing to put his name on the line. So far, this mild-mannered moderate has failed to make much of a splash.
Enter former congressman Joe Walsh, a conservative talk radio host, with a trail of tweets almost as disturbing as Donald Trumps. And the very first question out of everyones mouth is whether he is morally fit enough to challenge a man who pays off porn stars, tells congresswomen to go back to where they came from, and calls the press enemies of the people.
One of the many problems with Trump is that he presents a sort of Catch-22: An adversary can be a responsible adult , or can try to emulate Trumps worst qualities .