The chaos before the storm?
Thursday night reports from Politico and the Washington Post illustrate the GOP’s worries over “a possible bloodbath in the 2018 midterms” following losses this fall in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “has said privately that both chambers could be lost in November,” Politico reported. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told donors that “he fears a wave of swing district Republican lawmakers could retire rather than seek reelection,” per Politico.
According to Politico, those close to Trump said he’s well aware of the GOP’s dangers heading into 2018, although he’s reportedly shrugged off setbacks such as Roy Moore’s loss in the Alabama Senate race.
Trump advisers have reportedly stepped in to warn Trump directly about how the GOP’s congressional majority is at stake heading into midterms.
Within hours of celebrating Trump’s legislative win with the tax bill Wednesday, a late afternoon meeting quickly turned into an airing of grievances over how the White House manages the GOP and handles its strategy heading into midterm season. In attendance were White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, counselor Kellyanne Conway, political director Bill Stepien, marketing and data specialist Brad Parscale, communications director Hope Hicks, and political consultant Corey Lewandowski, according to Politico and the Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported that there are “strains inside the White House among the political affairs team, the RNC and some of Trump’s closest counselors on the outside” who are all “competing for Trump’s ear.”
White House advisers told the Post that Kelly “occasionally grumbled about the RNC and its chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel” and that “the RNC is not doing enough to defend the president and that its communications and political operation need to be improved — with more Trump loyalists installed.”
McDaniel herself has told RNC officials that her members are “sometimes at odds” with the White House, per the Washington Post. This tension became especially evident when Trump agreed to pull RNC support from Roy Moore’s campaign, but ended up backing Moore anyway and forcing the RNC to reverse its stance, the Post reported.
Several White House officials told the Post they doubt any major changes will happen at the RNC, but “there is talk of putting more Trump people at the organization or trying to take more control.”