Donald Trump’s Republican critics renewed their push Sunday to steer their party away from the former president, warning that he could hurt Republicans’ chances of winning the Senate runoff in Georgia next month if he announces plans for another White House bid on Tuesday.
“It’s basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And it’s like, three strikes, you’re out.” Hogan said it would be a mistake to nominate Trump again as the party’s 2024 presidential candidate after Republicans failed to take control of the Senate and made far fewer gains in the House than predicted in the midterm elections.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result,” he added. “Donald Trump kept saying we’re gonna be winning so much we’re gonna get tired of winning. I’m tired of losing. That’s all he’s done.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) echoed Hogan’s comments on ABC’s “This Week,” calling Don Bolduc, the Republican Senate nominee in his state, a “Republican extremist” and saying the results across the country amounted to “a rejection of that extremism.”
“America has been asking for more moderation for quite some time,” said Sununu, who like Hogan is a potential Republican presidential contender in 2024. “There’s just certain parts of the Republican Party that haven’t listened so well. We’ve just got to get back to basics. It’s not unfixable.”
For his part, Trump blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for losses by Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters and others, saying he had mishandled the primaries. “It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Spending money to defeat great Republican candidates instead of backing Blake Masters and others was a big mistake.”
Other Republicans sought to portray the election results in a more positive light, noting they were likely to narrowly take control of the House. “Republicans will win. The majority will be a very slim majority, but we have an opportunity over the next two years to be the last line of defense to block the Biden agenda,” Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) said on “Fox News Sunday.” He predicted that Republicans could increase their numbers in the House in the 2024 election.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, said midterm voters showed they wanted nothing to do with extremism. He said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) must decide whether to rebuff Trump’s “toxic influence on the party” if he gets a chance to mount a run for speaker.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on “State of the Union” declined to speculate on whether the Democrats would lose control of the House once the votes in the outstanding races are tallied but noted that the party far surpassed expectations.
“I think we see a path to the future that is much brighter than what was predicted by the punditry,” she said, adding: “Who would have thought two months ago that this red wave would turn into a little tiny trickle, if that at all? But we never believed that.”
Pelosi said Republicans hurt themselves by choosing what she thinks was the low road in the aftermath of the home invasion attack on her husband, Paul. “It wasn’t just the attack. It was the Republican reaction to it, which was disgraceful,” she said.
Josh Shapiro, the Pennsylvania attorney general who won the race for governor in a landslide for Democrats, said he believes concrete solutions played better than attacks with voters in rural Trump counties.
“I can just tell you what we did,” Shapiro said on “State of the Union” when asked about a successful Democratic playbook. “We showed up and we treated people with respect. And we spoke to them about practical things that should make their lives better.”
Also on the Sunday programs, Republican senators debated whether to delay leadership elections until after the Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia. Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin called for holding off on voting. McConnell seeks to continue his tenure as minority leader.
“If we hold those elections right away Wednesday, you probably have more campaigning done in a high school class president election than we would have in the most deliberative body in the world,” Johnson said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Tom Cotton of Arkansas on “Face the Nation” said they were backing McConnell. Cotton noted that no one has yet challenged him. “The great wrestling champion Ric Flair used to say, ‘To be the man, you got to beat the man,’” Cotton said. “And so far, no one has had the nerve to step forward and challenge Sen. McConnell.”