Juan Williams: GOP needs quarantine from Trump

Forget President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE’s critics among Democrats and even in the media.

Suddenly the hot question is whether Trump’s support among Republicans on Capitol Hill is withering.

First came the memo warning Senate Republicans up for reelection: “Don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China.”


The advice to seek political shelter at a distance from Trump arrived from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Given Senate Republicans’ record of blindly defending Trump, the memo signaled a new reality.

GOP senators for the first time see their political future as separate from Trump’s bid for a second term.

Further reason to distance from the president came from an ad attacking four Senate Republicans up for reelection for their record of “spineless servility” to Trump. The ad was paid for by anti-Trump Republicans.

And the biggest sign of internal GOP division was Trump’s threat to sue his campaign manager.

Trump was upset that Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE sent him polls showing him losing the White House to former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick Bloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida MORE.

“I’m not f---ing losing to Joe Biden,” President Trump said on a call with his senior campaign staff last week, according to multiple sources who spoke to The Associated Press.

But losing, you are, Mr. President. Parscale’s data fits with both public and internal campaign polling.

Trump is losing in national polls and in key swing states. He is even losing among people over 65, according to the Wall Street Journal. Biden’s lead grew after the president’s infamous suggestion that injecting disinfectant into the human body could wipe out the deadly virus.

An NPR–PBS NewsHour–Marist poll out last week found a majority — 55 percent — of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic — an increase of 6 points since last month.

Some political forecasts are outright scary for Republicans. Political scientist Rachel Bitecofer published an election forecast for the Niskanen Center which predicts a “blue tsunami” as the “most likely outcome.”

The latest USA Today–Suffolk poll shows that if the election were held today, Biden would beat Trump by 10 points in a nationwide head-to-head match-up.

And the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls has Biden leading Trump by more than 3 points in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

With those numbers, strategists have good reason to tell Republican politicians to move away from Trump. If he is at the top of ballots in the November elections his decline is a threat to pull them down.

“President Trump’s erratic handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the worsening economy and a cascade of ominous public and private polling have Republicans increasingly nervous that they are at risk of losing the presidency and the Senate if Mr. Trump does not put the nation on a radically improved course,” The New York Times reported last week.

Already, Democrats look well-positioned to hold on to — and even expand — their House majority.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported its largest quarterly fundraising haul in history last week — with $43.5 million and more than $80 million cash on hand. The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $39.3 million in the first quarter with just $49 million cash on hand.

With that fundraising disadvantage, the GOP is unlikely to capture the seats they need to win the House majority.

The Senate majority is also now up for grabs. Prospects for Republicans holding on to their 53-47 Senate majority look dimmer than earlier in the year. Incumbent Republican senators in Colorado, Arizona, Maine and North Carolina are all struggling to defend Trump’s slow response to the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report now rates four more GOP-held seats, in Georgia, Iowa, Kansas and Montana, as only “lean Republican.”

The rising prospect of that severe storm for the GOP is leading strategists to advise their candidates to shelter away from Trump.

“This may be an unprecedented circumstance in terms of public health and the budget, but it’s not unprecedented politically for the party in Congress to look at the incumbent president in the election and say: ‘How can we protect ourselves from the drag of the White House?’” former Republican congressman Vin Weber told The Hill last week.

Again, this is why Republican spin doctors are advising vulnerable senators to stop defending Trump and try shifting to attacks on China.


Senate Democrats see the GOP infighting as confirmation of the power of their argument against Trump.

“Ignoring warnings from the intelligence community, sending PPE to China, and failing to properly prepare the country — that’s the legacy of this administration and the Republican Senators who continue to support it,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla.

With six months until Election Day, Republicans are wise to consider the political equivalent of a quarantine of Trump to keep him from infecting otherwise politically healthy incumbents.

The president has tried to blame immigrants, the media and, of course, China. He claims he did not actually put into words the idea of putting disinfectants inside people but was being “sarcastic.”

Well, it is not sarcasm to say right now that Trump’s bleach comments may have just wiped out his “red wall” in the Electoral College and possibly the Republican majority in the Senate.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.