Senate Republicans Are Terrified Trump Will Run in 2024, Will Obviously Support Him Anyway

Picture this: You’re the head of marketing at a potato chip company and you’re reissuing the brand’s original flavor in the hopes of boosting holiday sales. One day your team receives an email from Adolf Hitler’s great-great-nephew, who says he wants to help the campaign by filming a short video declaring that the chips in question were “Uncle Adolf’s favorite,” with a little anecdote about how he “actually invaded Poland because someone set him off by eating the last bag in his stash.” You’d probably want to do everything in your power to ensure this didn’t happen, as it wouldn’t be ideal for your product to be associated with one of the worst people in history, right? If you’re vigorously nodding your head in agreement, you now have an idea of how Senate Republicans feel re: Donald Trump being the face of the party in the next midterm and presidential elections.

The Hill reports that Senate Republicans, with “a few exceptions,” are praying that Trump does not announce that he’ll be running for president again, ever, and especially not before 2022, fearing being associated with a complete and total maniac will sink their chances of winning back the Senate. And they’re not too jazzed about him being on the ballot again in three years, thanks to the whole “worst person in the world” thing.

Several Republican senators, who requested anonymity to discuss Trump frankly, said they don’t want to see Trump return as the party’s standard bearer. “I think we’re better off when he’s not part of any story,” said a Republican senator, who said his view is widely shared in the GOP conference. “He’s a clinical narcissist. He threw away the election in the debate with Biden and he threw away the Senate out of spite,” the lawmaker added, referring to Trump’s first against Biden, which many Republican senators viewed as a disaster, and his influence on Republican voter turnout in the Georgia special election. One thing is crystal clear: Most GOP senators think Trump announcing a bid before the midterms would hurt them.

“The 2022 election ought to be about the Biden administration and its rolling disasters so anything that would detract from the public being focused on what Democratic governance is doing to this country would be ill-advised,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a Trump ally, when asked about the possibility Trump could announce his campaign in the next year.… Another Republican senator whose seat is up for reelection in 2022 said Trump’s reemergence as a candidate would be a gift to Democrats who want to make next year’s midterms about Trump, regardless of whether he announces a 2024 presidential campaign.

“The way my colleagues see it, he’s an asset in the primaries if he’s with you and then it creates challenges in the general election,” this lawmaker told The Hill. “He’s different than any political person that I’ve ever known,” which is a polite way of describing someone who, nearly 12 months after the last presidential election, is still claiming it was stolen from him.

One Republican senator who certainly doesn’t want to see Trump win the nomination in 2024, say GOP colleagues and aides, is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who this week was attacked again by the former president over his debt-ceiling strategy. McConnell has steadfastly refused to acknowledge Trump’s attacks or mention him by name. Many Senate Republicans blame Trump for the loss of their majority.

Democrats won upset victories in both of Georgia’s Senate races in January after Trump publicly questioned whether the state’s voting practices were rigged, which damped GOP voter enthusiasm ahead of the run-off election. As a result, Senate Republicans weren’t thrilled to read last week’s story in The Washington Post that Trump wanted to announce his 2024 campaign and had to be talked out of it by his political advisers. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) laughed uncomfortably when asked about Trump raring to return to the political arena, more than three years before Election Day 2024. “I’m shocked, aren’t you?” he quipped.

Thune is up for reelection in 2022 and Trump has called for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to challenge him in a primary.

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