Former president Donald Trump’s standing as the dominant figure in the Republican Party was challenged Tuesday night by a string of election results that even some of his advisers viewed as wounding to his political future.
Trump is taking blame from Republicans for disappointing performances by many of the candidates he backed, at the same time that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis won a landslide reelection, instantly elevating his profile as a serious 2024 presidential contender.
In a sign of Trump’s diminished and newly uncertain footing, some longtime allies are now encouraging Trump to delay a presidential announcement he had planned for next week as a victory lap for a red wave that didn’t materialize.
One person familiar with the discussions, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations, said Trump was polling advisers for their opinions but had not made up his mind. But in a Fox News interview Wednesday evening, he cast doubt on a delay, saying, “We had tremendous success. Why would anything change?”
“Republican chairmen across a wide spectrum of states were counting on Donald Trump to deliver victory for them last night and he didn’t, they are let down,” David Urban, a top adviser to Trump’s winning 2016 campaign in Pennsylvania and a longtime ally, said Wednesday. “It is clear the center of gravity of the Republican Party is in the state of Florida, and I don’t mean Mar-a-Lago.”
The immediate cause for Trump advisers to discuss delaying his promised “very big announcement” scheduled for Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach, Fla., resort, was a Senate runoff in Georgia. Trump’s handpicked Senate candidate, football legend Herschel Walker, trailed incumbent Democrat Raphael G. Warnock by about 1 point as of Wednesday afternoon, with neither candidate clearing 50%, leading to a runoff on Dec. 6.
“Everything is about Herschel. I’ll be advising him to put it off until after the runoff,” said Jason Miller, a longtime adviser and sometime spokesman for Trump. “I’m not alone when I say President Trump’s best moves are to put all his efforts to get Herschel Walker elected.” [Continue reading…]