Former President Trump is digging himself a deep hole in the first few weeks of his latest bid for the White House.
Trump, who came under fire from several high-profile conservatives for dining with a white nationalist last week, found himself in hot water again over the weekend when he made fresh remarks about Twitter’s handling of a controversial story about Hunter Biden. should be ignored so he can return to the White House.
Some Republicans already view Trump with suspicion, after several of his hand-picked candidates in key Senate and gubernatorial races lost in last month’s election. Recent controversies risk accelerating calls for the party to move elsewhere.
“If you are one of these people who are interested [in] This year’s run, it’s certainly an opportunity to create some variance,” Sen. John Thune (SD), the second-ranking Senate Republican, said Monday, calling potential challengers “cryst.”
An Economist-YouGov poll released last week had Trump at 36 percent and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) at 30 percent in a likely GOP primary, the narrowest margin for the former president.
Trump is less than a month into his 2024 bid for the White House, starting a campaign with his hold on the GOP as midterm results have been low. His most notable moments since the start of the campaign have underscored the risks many Republicans face in nominating him for a third term.
Last week, Trump found himself in hot water after rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West, embraced anti-Semitic comments. Ye and Trump were joined at a dinner party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort by noted white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.
This week, Trump is again at the center of controversy after his response to internal Twitter communications that showed company officials in 2020 discussed a decision to restrict circulation of a New York Post story containing allegations about President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
Trump has seized on internal communications that Twitter owner Elon Musk shared with elected officials, saying the 2020 election was rigged and should be redone or he should be declared the winner.
“A massive fraud of this type and scale warrants the suspension of all rules, regulations and articles of the Constitution,” Trump posted on Truth Social, suggesting there should be a new election or he should be impeached. Backwards win.
On Monday, amid extensive coverage of Trump’s comments over the weekend, the former president said he didn’t want to “tear down” the Constitution, but stood by his belief that the 2020 election should or should be done by him. To return to the White House.
Several Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), condemned Trump’s meeting with Fuentes and Ye and their anti-Semitic comments.
But the response to Trump’s weekend comments on the Constitution was relatively quiet among Republicans.
Former Vice President Mike Pence said on a South Carolina radio show Monday morning that “everyone who has served in public office, and everyone who wants to serve or serve again, must make it clear that they will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Defeated a Trump supporter in November, Sen. Rep. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said recommending suspension of the constitution “is not only a betrayal of our oath of office, it is an affront to our republic.”
However, McCarthy, McConnell and other top Republicans have yet to weigh in.
Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) declined to answer whether he would still support Trump as a 2024 candidate after his consultation on the Constitution.
“He says a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean it’s always going to happen,” Joyce said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
A former Trump White House official argued that the type of media furor over Trump’s rhetoric could harden the former president’s core supporters, who already believe the media will twist his words.
The official suggested that Trump’s campaign aspirations may not be significantly affected by a more muted GOP response. Trump will remain the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination until someone deposes him, the official argued.
Meanwhile, the White House has seized on Trump’s comments. Administration officials have said they don’t plan to respond to each of Trump’s attacks or controversies, but his meeting with a white nationalist and calls to “end” the Constitution marked instances where they were happy to take offense.
Over the weekend, Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates condemned Trump’s rhetoric as “anathema to the soul of our nation” and said it should be “universally condemned.”
The White House on Monday sought to pressure congressional Republicans, hoping to avoid controversy.
“Every president and every member of Congress takes an oath to ‘defend’ the Constitution of the United States,” Bates said in a statement. “Ask members of Congress to reaffirm their oath of office and uphold the Constitution should not be a burden. Congressional Republicans should do so immediately instead of repeatedly refusing to answer the most basic question.
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