Trump pushes back at those saying he’s lost grip on GOP

Former President Trump is asserting his role as a Republican kingmaker, pushing back against claims from some corners of the GOP that his influence within the party is waning.

In a statement on Sunday, Trump insisted that the power of his endorsement in races up and down the ballot “is much stronger today than it was even prior to” the 2020 presidential election, noting a near-perfect record of his preferred candidates winning Republican primaries.

“I am almost unblemished in the victory count, and it is considered by the real pollsters to be the strongest endorsement in U.S. political history,” Trump said. 

“There are plenty of existing politicians who wouldn’t be in power now were it not for my Endorsement (like the Old Crow!),” he added, using his preferred nickname for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “The Fake News does everything within their power to diminish and belittle but the people know, and the politicians seeking the Endorsement really know!” 

Trump, who is believed to be eyeing another presidential bid in 2024, remains overwhelmingly popular among Republican voters, and there’s little doubt within the party that his endorsement remains a powerful asset for any GOP candidate competing in a primary. 

Still, there are a few signs that his grasp on the GOP may be loosening, at least a little bit.

An NBC News poll released in late January found that most Republicans — 56 percent — describe themselves as more supportive of the GOP than Trump, while 36 percent said that they see themselves as more supporters of Trump than the party itself.

That’s down from 2020, when 54 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they considered themselves more supportive of Trump than the party as a whole. At the time, 38 percent said they were more supportive of the GOP than Trump.

Several candidates whom Trump has endorsed ahead of the 2022 midterm elections are still locked in competitive primaries and haven’t managed to pull away from the pack. 

In the Senate race in Alabama, for instance, Trump’s favored candidate, Rep. Mo Brooks, is facing a tough primary race against Katie Britt, who is leading Brooks in fundraising as well as in some polls. 

Similarly, in the race for Georgia governor, incumbent Republican Brian Kemp is still very much in the running despite facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenger, former Sen. David Perdue. A Quinnipiac University poll released last month showed Kemp leading Perdue by a 7-point margin.

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2024 election Brian Kemp David Perdue Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Mo Brooks Republican Party Trump endorsement

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