President Donald Trump is refusing to consider that Democrats may win in the midterm elections as Republicans fight over the best -- or least damaging -- role for the GOP, The New York Times reported Saturday.
“That’s not going to happen,” President Trump said of Democrats winning the House of Representatives. The comments reportedly were repeatedly made during dinner with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republican leaders.
At the same dinner, White House legislative liaison Marc Short acknowledged that the House was all but doomed.
President Trump's "preoccupation with the ongoing Russia investigation adds to the unpredictability, spurring Mr. Trump to fume aloud in ways that divide the G.O.P. and raising the prospect of legal confrontations amid the campaign," The Times explained. "And despite projecting confidence, he polls nearly all those who enter the Oval Office about how they view the climate of the midterms."
Impeachment reportedly looms over the internal arguments over which races to target in the midterms.
"Among his close associates, a debate is raging about whether to focus on House races that could earn the president chits with Republican lawmakers who might ultimately vote on impeachment, or to dig in to defend the party’s tenuous Senate majority," The Times reported. "Congressional leaders have left little doubt in private that they see Mr. Trump as a political millstone for many of the party’s candidates. In recent weeks, Mr. McConnell has confided to associates that Republicans may lose the Senate because of the anti-Trump energy on the left."
With both houses potentially in play, Republicans are worried about Trump's lack of a political organization.
"John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff and a retired Marine general, has scant political acumen," The Times continued. "This vacuum has, as is often the case with this White House, triggered fierce internecine scrapping among those vying for Mr. Trump’s ear."
The chaos is not just in the White House, but inside President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign.
"The president’s announcement that Brad Parscale, his 2016 digital guru, would manage his 2020 re-election campaign caught many of his most senior advisers by surprise, according to multiple Republicans," The Times reported. "And the hasty decision immediately raised suspicions it was part of a power play by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, to isolate Corey Lewandowski, the president’s 2016 campaign manager and occasional adviser."