Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday morning, Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire said senior Republican leaders are terrified Donald Trump's latest outburst about participating in two more debates may put the election out of reach of the president and doom their chances of keeping their majority in the Senate.
Speaking with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brezinski, Lemire said that Trump's refusal to do the debates unless they are in-person handed Democrats a major victory.
"He's frustrated with the state of the race," Lemire explained. "He knows he's trailing and he has been deprived of running the campaign he wants because the pandemic has overshadowed everything else"
"There's real second-guessing about his decision to blow up the second debate, suggesting if his campaign had initially just suggested a postponement like where they eventually said, 'hey, let's have two debates but push them back a week,' therefore to allay any sort of health concerns maybe the debate commission and the Biden camp would have gone for that," he reported. "By saying initially we don't want to do it, we're going to pull out of the potential remote debate, it gave the Biden camp no incentive to agree. The Biden camp was able to say, 'hey, we're sticking to the schedule.'"
"We certainly know as the last point, Republicans terrified that the bottom might be dropping out," he added. "A depression in enthusiasm among the Trump base which might not only sink him in the White House but absolutely bring the Senate down with him."