Trump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report
President Trump privately told donors at a Nashville, Tenn., fundraiser on Thursday that he thinks it will be “very tough” for Republicans to keep their majority in the Senate, adding that he would not support certain GOP senators, according to The Washington Post.
The fundraiser was held the same night of the final presidential debate, which also took place in Nashville.
“I think the Senate is tough actually. The Senate is very tough,” Trump said at the Nashville Marriott event, an attendee told the Post. “There are a couple senators I can’t really get involved in. I just can’t do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can’t help some of them. I don’t want to help some of them.”
The attendee spoke to the news outlet on the condition of anonymity because the event was a private, closed-door gathering.
The Hill has reached out to the White House and representatives of the Trump campaign for comment.
During Thursday’s presidential debate, Trump said he believes Republicans will instead take back control of the House, where Democrats currently hold a majority.
“I think we’re going to win the House,” Trump said, speaking from the debate stage in Nashville.
He later said that he believes his party will take back the House in part because of the behavior of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), blaming her for delays on a new coronavirus stimulus bill.
However, Republicans would need a net gain of 18 seats to flip the House on Election Day, and Inside Elections has projected Democrats will pick up a net of 10 to 20 seats in the lower chamber. The Cook Political Report has also predicted Democrats are likely to expand their majority.
When it comes to the Senate, however, the Post reported that some strategists believe that Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his behavior in the first presidential debate, have helped shift races in favor of Democrats.
Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the upper chamber. Should Democratic nominee Joe Biden win the presidency, Democrats would need to gain three seats to claim a Senate majority.
The Post reported that National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Jesse Hunt expressed doubt about the idea that Trump does not support some Senate Republicans.
“The Republican-led Senate and President Trump have had a great partnership over the last four years, highlighted by the fact the chamber is poised to confirm a third Trump Supreme Count [Court] nominee in the coming days,” Hunt told the Post Saturday, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) efforts to hold a Senate vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation on Monday.
“Nancy Pelosi has turned the House into a liberal nightmare and if Chuck Schumer gets control of the Senate, he’ll do the same thing,” Hunt added.
The NRSC did not immediately respond to The Hill’s requests for comment Saturday.
Mandi Merritt, National Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee (RNC) told The Hill that, “The enthusiasm for President Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot remains sky high.”
“The RNC has built the biggest and most sophisticated Get Out The Vote program in history, and we are confident that voters will turn out to elect Republicans as they understand what is at stake this election – freedom and prosperity under President Trump and Republicans, or a ‘dark winter’ ahead under Joe Biden and Democrats,” she continued.
GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) are among the most vulnerable lawmakers in the upper chamber this election cycle.
Additionally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a top Trump ally, faces a tightening race against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, who raised approximately $22 million in the first two weeks of October, $7 million more than Graham, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.
The latest polling average from Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight places Harrison at two percentage points ahead of Graham, although a recent New York Times/Siena College poll has Graham six points ahead of Harrison, and Quinnipiac University has labeled the race a tie in its three latest polls.