According to a report from the New York Times, a Republican governors' meet-up this past week found lawmakers looking expectantly at the 2022 midterms while also worried about what Donald Trump will do in the next year that could damage the party.
As the NYT's Jonathan Martin and Shane Goldmacher report, Republicans were putting on a happy face about their prospects when the press is around -- and privately worrying, "What could be done about Donald J. Trump?"
During the conference, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was upfront about the next year, telling his colleagues that Trump's attacks on incumbents are "outrageous, unacceptable and bad for the party," before calling the former president's comments "Trump cancel culture."
"One year after his defeat, Mr. Trump is not only still looming over the G.O.P., but also — along with his imitators — posing the biggest threat to what is shaping up to be a fruitful year for Republican candidates. With President Biden's approval ratings mired below 50 percent — in some surveys, below 40 percent — and voters in a sour mood, Republicans are well positioned to make gains in Congress and statehouses across the country," Martin and Goldmacher report.
However, they report, "But there is Mr. Trump, threatening primary challenges to some House Republicans in key swing districts, endorsing Senate candidates who make party leaders uneasy and recruiting loyalists to take out Republican governors from Idaho to Georgia."
Case in point, they note, has been Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's efforts to recruit strong candidates for seats that are either held by retiring Republicans or open seats that could be a GOP pick-up.
"Trump is now threatening to unseat lawmakers who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He taunts Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell as an 'old crow' on a near-daily basis, while demanding that Mr. McConnell be removed from his leadership post. And, most alarming to the clubby cadre of Republican governors, Mr. Trump has already endorsed two challengers against incumbent governors and is threatening to unseat others," the Times is reporting.
"More broadly, Mr. Trump is complicating Mr. McConnell's recruitment campaign by making clear his contempt for the sort of center-right Republicans who refuse to echo his lies about last year's election," the report states. "Two New England governors, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire and Phil Scott of Vermont, indicated this month that they would not run for the Senate, Mr. Hogan appears more intent on pursuing a long-shot presidential campaign, and Mr. [Doug] Ducey [of Arizona] continues to insist that he will not challenge first-term Senator Mark Kelly."
You can read more here.