Rawstory is reporting that during a CNN “Inside Politics” panel discussion on Sunday morning, one longtime political commentator said newly released polling numbers should worry former President Donald Trump.
CNN analyst Jeff Zeleny told host Kaitlan Collins that Trump’s weaknesses are becoming more apparent as he considers running for president again in 2024.
“A really interesting part of this new poll found that as of March of 2018 78% of Republicans thought their chances were better with Trump and now that number is 51%?” Collins prompted.
“That is fascinating there and not a good trajectory and what has happened during this period? Former president Trump has been sticking his head up more and been more active– not like he’s sitting on the sidelines,” Zeleny replied. “This isn’t happening in a vacuum. As I travel around the country and talk with Republicans and voters and other rank and file folks, there is, even among Trump supporters, not a lot of unanimity about they want him to come back.”
“You wonder if it only goes down further what does it change going forward,” Collins remarked. “Part of it said that 58% of the Republicans without a college degree thought their chances would be better with Trump. But when you ask college grads, only 34% thought they would be better with Trump as the leader.”
“That’s not a huge surprise because that’s reflective of his support from the very beginning,” Zeleny replied. “You can translate that to GOP establishment in some respects and outsider non-establishment. So, look, I think it puts the challenge on someone like Chris Christie and perhaps Chris Christie himself to come out and actually challenge Donald Trump face to face? So far no one has been willing to do that.”
“We’re seeing a delicate dance here and everyone waiting for him to disappear,” he continued. “The former president says he keeps teasing he’s going to have an announcement shortly — I don’t think it’s coming shortly at all. He’s going to draw that out in the next season perhaps. But this is not necessarily great news for Donald Trump, especially that declining number — that’s a fascinating number.”
CNN is reporting that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team are quietly working to support some of the Republican incumbents targeted by former Trump, putting the California Republican squarely in the crosshairs of the right as he seeks to retake the majority.
Reps. David Valadao of California, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state, John Katko of New York, and Fred Upton and Peter Meijer, both of Michigan, are members of a joint fundraising committee with McCarthy and his leadership PAC, which has raised roughly $100,000 for each of the five camps.
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According to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings, the Take Back the House 2022 committee has not raised funds for the other five lawmakers: Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Dan Newhouse of Washington state, and Tom Rice of South Carolina. McCarthy’s leadership organization, Majority Committee PAC, did, however, donate $10,000 to Gonzalez’s campaign at the end of March.
While the National Republican Congressional Committee benefits from the joint fundraising committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm has long maintained an official neutrality in primaries.
However, the committee does provide other resources to dues-paying incumbents, and committee Chairman Tom Emmer was a special guest at a Herrera Beutler fundraiser last month in Washington state, according to a source familiar with the event.
McCarthy and his confidants have specifically urged Trump and his advisers to remain neutral in the primaries for Katko and Valadao, two of the most vulnerable Republicans, but it’s unclear what the mercurial former President will do, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The GOP leadership’s efforts to help these embattled Republicans’ campaigns have put them at odds with Trump and irritated some conservatives.
“McCarthy is talking out of one side of his mouth, saying that he supports the MAGA movement, Trump and President Trump’s policies, but his money is supporting Jaime Herrera Beutler and four of the other impeachment voters,” Joe Kent, a Trump-backed primary challenger to Herrera Beutler, told CNN. “It’s just part of the GOP grift. So me and the rest of the base, we’ve kind of heard enough from them.”
After publicly disclosing details about McCarthy and Trump’s phone call on January 6, Herrera Beutler was almost called as a witness in the Senate impeachment trial.
When asked if he would support McCarthy for speaker if he were elected to Congress, Kent said, “Absolutely not.”
His remarks highlight the types of issues McCarthy is dealing with. Trump’s meddling in GOP primaries, particularly in key swing districts, threatens to complicate the House GOP’s path back to majority status. The California Republican is caught between a Trump-supporting right flank that he needs to become speaker one day and Republican incumbents that he has vowed to protect.
Some of those sitting lawmakers, such as Herrera Beutler and Upton, are critical to regaining control of the House, while others, such as Valadao and Katko, are longtime McCarthy allies.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Upton, who represents a swing district, has not decided whether to run for a 19th term. Republicans are concerned that Upton’s Trump-backed primary opponent, state Rep. Steve Carra, will put the seat in jeopardy if he wins the nomination.
“I don’t care about DC leaders … most of the Republicans in DC are RINOs who have no interest in actually putting America First,” Carra said in an email to CNN. “Kevin McCarthy has a choice to make. He can continue to back the Anti-Trump Fred Upton who voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump or he can join the America First movement and support Steve Carra, who now has the full and total endorsement of President Trump.”