Republicans In the Senate have been looking at polls showing GOP incumbents are losing ground and are concerned that President Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has put their Senate majority in danger.
The biggest criticisms of the President that GOP lawmakers have express privately are that his administration deployed coronavirus tests too late and that the president’s statements and demeanor have been too flippant.
The biggest headwind Republicans face this fall is the faltering national economy, which now has a 14.7 percent unemployment rate, according to a Friday report by the Labor Department.
Incumbent Republican Senators Cory Gardner and Martha McSally are well behind in the polls, while Senators Thom Tillis and Susan Collins are in toss-up races.
Democrats only need to net three seats as well as the White House to win Senate majority.
“There’s concern,” said one Republican lawmaker expressing apprehension over the President’s performance over the past two months.
The lawmaker noted that Trump is “hard to poll” and that he tends defy pollsters’ predictions, like the projection that he would lose to Hillary Clinton in 2016. But then the Republican also pointed to recent data that shows “every governor and every world leader is way up the polls but Trump isn’t.”
A Republican strategist in the Senate said GOP candidates will have to make the voters choose between Republican and Democratic ideologies rather than a referendum on Trump’s performance.
“Republicans need the presidential campaign to shift from what is currently a referendum on President Trump to what will certainly become a choice between Joe Biden and President Trump,” the aide said. “When the presidential race becomes a choice, then the faithful on both parties’ sides will go back to their own corners and each state will be decided based on its own fundamentals.”