President Trump reportedly told a group of Republican donors that it will be ‘very tough’ for the GOP to keep its Senate majority because there are senators from his own party that he could not support.
‘I think the Senate is tough actually. The Senate is very tough,’ Trump said in his remarks at a fundraiser on Thursday at the Nashville Marriott.
The comments were provided by an anonymous attendee to The Washington Post.
‘There are a couple senators I can’t really get involved in,’ Trump said.
‘I just can’t do it. You lose your soul if you do.
President Trump (seen above on Saturday in Circleville, Ohio) told Republican donors in Nashville on Thursday that it will be ‘very tough’ for the GOP to hold onto its majority in the Senate
‘I can’t help some of them. I don’t want to help some of them.’
Trump never cited which senator he could not support.
Several Republicans in the Senate face tough re-election battles, including Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Martha McSally of Arizona.
Polls show Collins trailing her Democratic challenger, Sara Gideon.
Surveys also indicate that Gardner is losing to his Democratic opponent, John Hickenlooper.
McSally is lagging behind her opponent, the former astronaut Mark Kelly, in the Arizona race.
Other races in states that have in the past voted reliably for Republicans are also surprisingly tight, including in Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Several Republicans in the Senate face tough re-election battles, including Cory Gardner of Colorado. Gardner is seen above at the White House on August 4
The closed-door meeting with donors was held before Trump’s debate on Thursday with his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump said he believes that the Republicans are ‘going to take back the House.’
Polls show the Democrats favored to win the White House. They are also in a strong position to possibly take back the Senate.
But Trump’s view that Republicans can flip the House are not supported by the latest surveys, as the Democrats are expected to either maintain or even expand their majority.
A spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee rejected the suggestion that Trump doesn’t support GOP senators.
‘The Republican-led Senate and President Trump have had a great partnership over the last four years, highlighted by the fact the chamber is poised to confirm a third Trump Supreme Court nominee in the coming days,’ spokesperson Jesse Hunt said on Saturday.
‘Nancy Pelosi has turned the House into a liberal nightmare and if Chuck Schumer gets control of the Senate, he’ll do the same thing.’
Republicans and Democrats are unleashing millions in eleventh-hour spending to contest Senate seats in states that read like a list of reliable GOP strongholds: Alaska. Arizona. Georgia. Iowa. Kansas. Montana. South Carolina. Texas.
The reason: States in many traditionally conservative areas are in play next month and both sides know it.
Less than two weeks from an Election Day that will determine Senate control, each party is throwing late money at an up-for-grabs Democratic seat in Michigan.
The Senate Majority PAC, a political committee aligned with the chamber’s Democratic leaders, has canceled its remaining $1.2million in spending against Gardner in Colorado, sensing victory.
National Democrats have reported no significant expenditures yet to protect Senator Doug Jones, who seems likely to lose his seat in crimson Alabama.
Another vulnerable Republican is Senator Susan Collins of Maine (seen above on Capitol Hill on June 30). Polls show Collins trailing her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon
The most striking feature of the campaign’s waning days is how both parties are focusing resources on seats in territory that’s usually solidly Republican.
The spending underscores the broad map the GOP must defend, often in unlikely places, as it struggles to retain its current 53-47 chamber majority.
‘I mean, Kansas?’ said GOP consultant David Flaherty, citing a state that last elected a Democratic senator in 1932.
‘We’re in what looks like could be a wave election.’
The late maneuvering comes despite a political climate that seems to have only hardened in recent months.
Trump’s deep unpopularity with moderate and educated voters, particularly in suburbs, is hurting down-ballot GOP candidates as well.
In addition, Democrat candidates have significantly outraised their Republican rivals in all but three of the 15 most competitive Senate races, most of which pit GOP incumbents against Democratic challengers.
That has freed national Democrats to aim last-minute money at longer-shot races than usual, in turn forcing Republicans to spend resources defending those seats.
‘Close races and a chance to win,’ J.B. Poersch, president of Senate Majority PAC, said of how his group decides to allocate money over the campaign’s dwindling days.
Easing the disparity a bit, Poersch’s group has been outraised 2-1 by its GOP counterpart, the Senate Leadership Fund.
The Republican committee, with ties to Senate GOP leaders, reported mammoth donations last month of $60million from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and $20million from Kenneth Griffin, billionaire donors.
Since mid-October, major GOP campaign committees have ordered TV and radio ads protecting Republican-held seats topping $5million for Iowa Senator Joni Ernst and $4million for McSally.
They’ve triggered spending of around $2 million each to defend Senators Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Steve Daines of Montana and John Cornyn of Texas.
The figures are from the ad-tracking firm Kantar/CMAG.
Perhaps most startling is the roughly $6million that big GOP groups have spent recently for commercials to help House Rep. Roger Marshall, the Republican seeking Kansas’ open Senate seat.
Senator Martha McSally of Arizona is also facing an uphill battle to keep her seat as polls show her trailing Mark Kelly, a Democrat
He’s been badly outraised by Democratic opponent Barbara Bollier, a state senator, doctor and former Republican.
‘It’s indicative of where we are. He’s getting outspent 3-1,’ said GOP Senator Pat Roberts, whose retirement is making the seat available.
‘Liberal Barbara Bollier stands with them, not Kansas,’ says the announcer in one National Republican Senatorial Committee TV spot that accuses her of backing ‘far-left Democrats’ who want to pack the Supreme Court with additional justices.
Bollier has said the proposal ‘is not on my plate.’ The committee is the Senate GOP’s political arm.
Over the same period, Democratic groups have launched ads against GOP senators including about $14million aimed at Texas’ Cornyn; $3.5million against Collins; over $2million against Montana’s Daines and over $1million against Ernst of Iowa, according to Kantar/CMAG.
This week alone, Future Forward has spent $4million against Cornyn, according to reports the group has filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The well-funded political action committee, which gets much of its war chest from high technology entrepreneurs, is using most of its money to oppose Trump.
‘It’s just a very difficult environment,’ said Cornyn.
The Texan won his last reelection by 27 percentage points in 2014 and Trump carried the state in 2016 by 9 points.
FEC figures show that since mid-October, Republicans have reported spending around $9million to defend Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, $6.5million for Sen. David Perdue of Georgia and $700,000 for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.
‘I think Tillis is getting back in this one because his opponent ended up having more affairs than you’re allowed to have at one time,’ Trump said.
Tillis’ opponent, Cal Cunningham, acknowledged three weeks ago that he exchanged sexually suggestive texts with a woman who is not his wife.
A few days later, The Associated Press reported additional texts and interviews confirming they had an intimate encounter as recent as July – while Cunningham was deep in the hard-fought campaign.
Polls show the race narrowing, and the editorial boards of newspapers in Charlotte and Raleigh withheld an endorsement of Cunningham that they said they had been prepared to give him before the affair.
‘His lack of judgment … should deeply trouble North Carolinians,’ their editorial read.
The papers did not endorse either candidate.
For those same states, Democratic groups like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have reported spending $11million against Tillis, $6.5million against Perdue and $1.5million against Graham.
Besides Alabama, Michigan is the GOP’s best chance at gaining a seat and thwarting Democrats’ drive to a Senate majority.
Over the past few days, Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC has steered $3.7million to help incumbent Sen. Gary Peters, while the GOP senatorial committee has spent $1.1million.
The late spending reflects a bipartisan consensus that even in a campaign notable for a low proportion of undecided voters, it makes sense to make last-ditch adjustments in where resources are going.
‘It’s a little different this year,’ said GOP pollster Jon McHenry, citing a torrent of early voting prompted by the coronavirus pandemic and efforts by the two parties, chiefly Democrats, to avoid potential Election Day problems.
Around 52 million people have already voted, according to data gathered by The Associated Press.
McHenry said that even so, ‘It’s still important to appeal to independents who haven’t decided yet and to Republicans trying to push their side to turn out.’
‘It matters,’ agreed Poersch of Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC, citing a shift in voters’ sentiment over the final weeks of the 2016 campaign that helped Trump edge to victory.
‘It’s a folly to assume these races won’t be competitive right through Election Day.’