Republicans talk trash about Trump as endorsements flop
Donald Trump speaks at a rally. Image via screengrab.

Republicans are more willing to challenge former President Donald Trump now that his endorsements are flopping in GOP primaries around the country.

There have been some successes, with J.D. Vance in Ohio and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, but the intra-party conflicts sparked by Trump's endorsements of unpopular loyalists has made GOP heavyweights more willing to challenge the twice-impeached former president, reported Politico.

“It shows that while people realize Donald Trump is virtually, in every way, still the leader of the Republican Party, people are willing to stick their necks out and support good candidates opposite of Trump when they see them,” said Missouri-based GOP strategist Gregg Keller.

Former president George W. Bush, former vice president Mike Pence and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie all campaigned for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whose Trump-endorsed opponent flopped, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) campaigned for Rep. Mo Brooks in his Alabama Senate primary, after the former president withdrew his endorsement.

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“We have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday,” Christie said. “But more important than that, what we have to decide is: Do we want to be the party of me or the party of us? What Donald Trump has advocated is for us to be the ‘party of me,’ that everything has to be about him and about his grievances."

“Trump picked this fight," Christie added.

Pence has more openly challenged Trump, who reportedly liked his supporters chanting their intentions to hang his vice president, as he prepares a possible 2024 presidential run, and his advisers are trashing the former president behind the scenes.

“I think the former president has been poorly advised because he’s made a lot of endorsements in an effort to showcase his formidability,” said one Pence adviser, “and that has the counter-effect that actually shows the endorsement doesn’t carry the same weight it once did.”

Trump has thrown some races -- and state Republican parties -- into turmoil by waiting months to get involved, after candidates have staked out positions and formed alliances with other GOP candidates, donors and operatives.

“I can’t imagine that somebody’s been running for office for a year, a whole bunch of people take positions on the race, then Trump decides to endorse somebody, and that means you can’t be for them anymore?" said one national GOP strategist. "F*ck that."