donald trump
Donald Trump in Conroe Texas (Photo: Screen capture)

On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Lead," anchor Jake Tapper discussed the liability former President Donald Trump poses for Republican midterm candidates with conservative PBS commentator Margaret Hoover and her husband, CNN reporter John Avlon.

"Republicans are expected to do really well in the midterms, but as Playbook wrote in POLITICO today, 'One of the few ways Republicans could potentially blow this electoral equivalent of a layup is if former President Donald Trump suddenly returns to center court ... he’s deadly for the GOP in the decisive suburbs at the heart of 2022 politics. Recall how Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin treated Trump like Voldemort, concerned that even uttering his name would repel potential supporters,'" said Tapper. "A little mixed metaphor, there with the basketball and the Harry Potter. But I take their point. Do you think Trump needs to sit this one out, and can he?"

"First of all, no, he can't," said Hoover. "Witness the rally he had for David Perdue three days ago in Georgia. He's 100% playing ... he can't stay away."

"And the Georgia Reporter said it's one of the most sparsely-attended Trump rallies they'd ever seen in that state," noted Tapper.

"The other aspect that the POLITICO article doesn't really address is that there are Republican-on-Republican, you know, closed Republican partisan primaries that are going to lead up to those general election votes, and Trump is still very popular with the base," said Hoover. "Even though he hasn't been front and center on Twitter. So actually, he is playing, it is feeding his ego, and he's influencing it for the worse."

"He's backing some certifiable candidates," agreed Tapper.

"Exactly, I mean the seditionists, the white nationalists, the conspiracy theorists," said Hoover.

"The people who think the rainbow flag is the Satanist flag!" added Tapper.

"Yeah, no, and in some cases he's distanced himself from candidates he endorsed, like Mo Brooks, who he endorsed and then faded away," said Avlon. "Look, he has a net negative affect on the party not only in terms of the candidates who may win the nomination, but in terms of the general election and suburban swing votes, this guy's like microwaved fish. He's going to repel people."

Watch below:

CNN panel discusses Trump's compulsion to interfere in 2022 midterms