TIME reporter Molly Ball told CNN on Monday that Trump’s refusal to deal seriously with murderous authoritarians like Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman has Republicans in swing districts ‘cringing’, but there’s not much they can do about it.
Asked by host Poppy Harlow whether Trump’s embrace of Saudi Arabia, Russia, and North Korea was “helpful to other Republican candidates,” Ball was decidedly amused.
“Republicans that are in marginal districts, swing districts, swing states, purple states, they know that this election is first and foremost a referendum on the president,” she said. “The more he’s in the frame, the more he reminds people how much they either like or don’t like him.”
“The president is unpopular overall, particularly in these swing areas,” Ball said, and pointed to the Trump’s low approval ratings with the general electorate. “The more he’s stirring up controversy, the more he’s sort of hogging the spotlight, the more I think those Republicans sort of cringe and wish he would find something else to do for a few weeks.”
Watch the video below.