early and often

Republicans Begin to Suspect Trump Doesn’t Care About the Senate

Trump doesn’t care if Colorado Republican Senate nominee Joe O’Dea goes down to defeat. Photo: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

Over the past few days, there’s been a dust-up between Donald Trump and one of the GOP’s prize Senate candidates, Joe O’Dea. The Coloradan annoyed the ex-president by going on a Sunday show and saying he hopes Trump doesn’t attempt a comeback in 2024, per HuffPost:

Asked if the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol should disqualify Trump from running in 2024, O’Dea said the former president should stay out of the race.

“I’m going to actively campaign against Donald Trump and make sure that we’ve got four or five really great Republicans right now,” O’Dea told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

O’Dea said Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) could win two consecutive terms as president.

That wasn’t a big surprise considering that O’Dea is running as a “different kind of Republican” (he is, for example, at least vaguely pro-choice) against incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in a state where Joe Biden beat Trump by 13 points in 2020. But Trump took umbrage at the disrespect and hit back on Truth Social:

Senate Republicans tut-tutted accordingly, inspiring this unintentionally hilarious headline at The Hill: “Trump attack leaves GOP wondering if he cares about Senate majority.” Of course he doesn’t.

Buy any Georgia Republican a drink and promise anonymity and you’ll be told matter-of-factly that Trump sabotaged the January 2021 runoff campaign that cost Republicans control of the Senate by telling voters repeatedly that the election machinery in that state (run by Republicans) was “rigged.” Since then, his antagonism toward Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (whom he regularly calls “the Old Crow” or “the Old Broken Crow”) has grown and grown. Trump’s quest to purge McConnell from party leadership isn’t going to work (even wild MAGA candidates like New Hampshire’s Don Bolduc depend heavily on McConnell’s fundraising prowess), so hoping McConnell falls short of a majority is the next best thing (so long as Trump’s endorsed candidates don’t get blamed).

It’s unclear why a narcissist like the 45th president should care about a Republican Senate in 2023. It doesn’t benefit him in any tangible way. If Trump does attempt a comeback in 2024, the Senate landscape that year is so favorable to the GOP that it’s hard to imagine that a reelected President Trump won’t have a Republican majority — who knows, maybe without McConnell in charge? — to help him implement his platform of authoritarian vengeance. In the meantime, the job of frustrating Trump’s successor and putative 2024 opponent, Joe Biden, can be safely left to (very likely) House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He’s Trump’s genuine buddy and vassal and surrounded by watchful House Freedom Caucus commissars; the Californian will not be cutting any “bipartisan deals” with the Democrats.

Right now, Trump’s prime objective (other than staying a step ahead of various prosecutors) is to maintain his dominance of the GOP. If disrespecting the 45th incurs a political death penalty for Joe O’Dea in Colorado, so be it. A party in power that isn’t serving its master’s will is worthless in the world as seen from Mar-a-Lago.

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GOP Begins to Suspect Trump Doesn’t Care About the Senate