GOP lawmakers fear 'political suicide' if they turn on Trump for bungling the COVID-19 crisis: report
Composite image of President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photos by Gage Skidmore.

Senate Republicans face a sticky predicament in trying to keep their jobs and their majority.


President Donald Trump's unpopularity threatens Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's grip on the Senate, and he's signaled to endangered senators to keep their distance from the White House -- but that carries other political risks, reported USA Today.

"If they do that, it will be suicide for the Republicans," said former top congressional aide John Feehery. "If you are seen as turning your back on the president, a Trump voter will turn their back on you and you will lose the election."

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the second-ranking GOP senator, tested the waters by contradicting the president's claims about mail-in voting and fraud, and Trump seemed annoyed when the South Dakota Republican questioned his ability to hold a nomination acceptance speech from the White House.

"John Thune did, right?" Trump said. "The Republican John Thune? Well, okay."

A Republican media consultant recommends that GOP senators try to split the difference by muting their criticism of the president while touting their own record.

"What I would call regular Republicans, Trump-only voters who are marginal and don't turn out very often, and mostly suburban swing voters who tend to be right-of-center on policy but not always crazy about the president's methods," said Brad Todd, the GOP consultant.

But Democrats will make sure to link GOP senators with the president every chance they get.

"Republican incumbents are at risk because of their own toxic records in Washington, and refusing to hold the president accountable is another example of that failure," said Stewart Boss, spokesman for the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee. "Their glowing praise for Trump's inept response to this public health and economic crisis shows they aren’t listening to voters and are unwilling to be independent voices for their states.”