According to a report from Politico, Republicans and conservatives are alternately unhappy and furious with Donald Trump for his attacks on mail-in voting -- explaining that he can't seem to get it through his head that he may be crippling his re-election hopes.
The report notes that the president first told supporters that mail-in voting for November's election would be rife with fraud -- then later told GOP voters in North Carolina to vote twice.
This has Republicans shaking their heads with one advisor saying the president is taking a 'huge risk," and five Republicans who spoke with Politico saying they worry he may keep voters he needs from voting altogether.
With Politico's Anita Kumar writing, "In an election where a record number of Americans are expected to cast ballots by mail, that could cost Trump a victory," GOP strategist Karl Rove agreed, saying, "He should be encouraging people to do it, if that makes them feel more comfortable.”
Rove is not alone in his advice to the president with Kumar reporting, "Many Trump allies say the president’s concerns about mail-in voting are valid — primarily his claim that unsolicited ballots and ballot applications will be sent to millions of people ineligible to vote. But they argue that in a pandemic when many people are expected to avoid the polls, it’s more important to get Republicans to vote however they can."
According to GOP strategist Scott Jennings, Trump is only hurting himself.
“If you’re Donald Trump, you need every vote you can get, no matter how you can get it,” he explained. “We’re in a close race. The president needs to tell their supporters to vote any way they can — and as soon as possible.”
Another conservative who worked in the Trump White House --and remained anonymous for the Politico report -- was blunter in their comments about the damage the president is doing.
“Hell, he’s been told for four years he needs to be more precise with his language,” the ex-White House official complained. “The problem with saying stupid stuff like that is it helps the other side delegitimize legitimate concerns.”
According to the report, Trump's attacks on mail-in voting appear to be blowing up in his face, with Kumar reporting, "Recent polling shows Republicans have become concerned about voting remotely, while Democrats are outpacing Republican requests for absentee ballots in some swing states, including North Carolina, the first state in the nation to send out absentee ballots."
Many Republicans are perfectly fine with mail-in voting, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) saying "Many parts of our country vote by mail. Oregon, Washington and Colorado have voted by mail for years," and some of them are hoping Trump will change direction and get behind it with an eye on increasing his voting totals.
“Republicans should be embracing this,” explained Rob Stutzman, a GOP political strategist based in California. “It’s crazy the president is destroying confidence in this.”
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