'It makes the hill harder to climb': Distress signals already emerging within GOP over sticking with Trump

'It makes the hill harder to climb': Distress signals already emerging within GOP over sticking with Trump
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Fresh off promoting a return to fiscal austerity principles, members of the House Republican Study Committee (RSC) met with Donald Trump last week to talk midterms.

The committee, whose members represent nearly three-quarters of the entire House GOP caucus, had floated an alternative budget only weeks earlier that was chock full of rewarmed Ryan-era ideas about cutting government spending to the bone. Still, their meeting with profligate GOP spender Trump went just peachy according to RSC chair Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana.

"He was all about the future," Banks told Politico of Trump's forward-thinking approach to the midterms. "It was not focused on the past."

Nothing but unicorns and rainbows, folks.

But the truth is, Trump's toxic effect on party politics at the state and federal level is already roiling the GOP, and we're starting see signs of that everywhere. Just over a week ago, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri reverted to a practice that Republicans developed during the Trump-era amid efforts to reach a leader who never listened to his advisers—he made an entreaty to Trump on the airwaves.

"He could be incredibly helpful in 2022 if he gets focused on 2022 and the differences in the two political parties," Blunt said of Trump, on NBC's Meet The Press.

And who could miss Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week telling Fox News that Trump "has his own agenda" when it comes to the midterms?

Then there's the GOP candidates who are clearly scared out of their wits over what Trump could do to the party's electoral hopes in 2022 given that he continues to be obsessed with relitigating his 2020 election loss, which he called "the crime of the century" just last month.

"He should have learned from what happened in Georgia," said one GOP lawmaker, who represents a purple district but obviously didn't want to risk Trump's ire by going on the record. "He cost us Georgia by focusing on the election."

The words "should have" appear to be the operative part in that sentence.

"If Trump focused on Pelosi and Biden's policy failures, he would help us. If it's about election fraud and sour grapes from 2020, it will hurt us," the GOP lawmaker added.

Again, the word "if" is telling and not particularly hopeful from a Republican lawmaker who was likely speaking more frankly based on being granted anonymity.

The lawmaker acknowledged that Trump's 2020 grievances animate the base, but said it's not particularly helpful when it comes to retaking the majority—presumably in more swingy districts.

"We may be able to still win the majority, but I think it makes the hill harder to climb."

In other words, in the eyes of a purple-district House Republican, Trump could be more of a liability to the GOP in the midterms than a boon.

Not exactly unicorns and rainbows, folks.

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