GOP officers and donors blame Trump for poor efficiency within the Georgia runoff elections
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, United States, on December 31, 2020.
Tom Brenner | Reuters
Republican officials, donors and advisors, many of them behind the scenes, blamed President Donald Trump for the party’s poor performance in the Senate runoff elections in the once reliably red state of Georgia.
“Trump for the party,” said a staunch ally of Trump on condition of anonymity. The president, said this campaign official, “has made people not trust the system and has made it difficult for candidates to take positions for their states.”
Trump spread a number of bogus conspiracy theories and allegations of election fraud and has attacked the Republican leadership in Georgia.
NBC News predicted that Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler. Democrat Jon Ossoff clinched victory over Republican David Perdue on Wednesday morning, but NBC News said the race was too close with 98% of the vote. President-elect Joe Biden led the state in the November election.
Trump’s staunch ally and other Republicans who spoke to CNBC for this article, including people close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, did so on condition of anonymity, to speak freely and for fear of retaliation . McConnell would be a minority leader in a Democratic majority Senate.
Since losing the parliamentary elections, the president has consistently rejected the results. He also asked Georgia’s Republican Foreign Minister to “find 11,780 votes” to change the result.
“The gimmick of getting the election results down complicated the message that best polled voters, those we needed most: the Senate to control Joe Biden,” said a strategist close to McConnell.
“Trump, Trump, Trump,” said a GOP official who worked with the Senate leadership on the Georgia runoff election when asked who was to blame in Georgia this week.
“Sabotage for two months,” said this person. Trump’s drive to “get the Senate to overthrow the electorate” also didn’t help, the person added.
A GOP strategist with ties to Trump critic Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said the losses would split the Republican Party. This, in turn, will lead to the “beginning of a long war of attrition” including vicious battles in “primaries for 2022 races and eventually in the 2024 primaries”
Romney himself appeared to be targeting Trump on Wednesday. “It turns out that telling voters the elections are rigged isn’t a good way to go,” said Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate who was the only member of his party during the impeachment process for Trump’s removal last year voted.
Brendan Buck, who acted as advisor to Romney’s ally and former House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2012, tweeted that Trump was a “political disaster” for Republicans.
NBC News reported that Republicans weren’t getting the heavy turnout they needed in rural areas. The Democrats, meanwhile, have benefited from the increase in voter turnout in democratic and heavily black areas since the November elections.
The two races went to the runoff because none of the candidates broke 50% in their November election.
A person who raised money for Trump and Republicans in the Georgia runoff election suggested to CNBC that donors already rally around Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., As the future leader in place of Trump. This coordinator said donors had already reached out to discuss whether they should try to make McCarthy House the spokesperson by flipping control of the chamber in the interim 2022.
Another fundraiser pointed Trump directly to the guilt: “The top dog was not fully invested in the party here,” said this person.