Trump’s hold on GOP ‘waning’ after ‘terrible’ campaign launch: Toomey

Former President Donald Trump’s influence in the Republican Party is slipping after his “terrible” campaign start, Sen. Pat Toomey said Sunday.

Trump announced his 2024 presidential bid in November after Republicans had an underwhelming midterm election after his candidates, who he supports, fought for victory in key races. His campaign so far has been marred by court losses, post-midterm backlash and other scandals, prompting some in the GOP to distance themselves from the former president.

In particular, he came under scrutiny after a Manhattan jury ruled against the Trump Organization in a tax fraud case for dining with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West – who was reprimanded for anti-Semitic comments. He’s also faced backlash for his call to “end” the US Constitution, and most recently for his ridiculous release of a $99 digital trading card of himself.

Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who will retire at the end of the year, while appearing on CNN, stressed Trump’s “declining influence in the GOP state of the nation.

Trump's GOP Hold Slip Slip Campaign Launch: Toomey
Former President Donald Trump is seen with an input from Pennsylvania GOP Senator Pat Toomey. Toomey said during a CNN appearance Sunday that Trump’s grip on the Republican Party was “waning” after his “terrible” start to the 2024 presidential campaign.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images; Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“Last month’s election results dramatically accelerate the slowdown, in my opinion. And frankly, his incredibly horrific campaign streak isn’t helping him either,” Toomey said.

The senator added that Trump’s influence was already on the wane prior to his recent scandals, although he conceded his grip “wasn’t fading as quickly as I had hoped.”

He pointed to some of his own constituents in the main swing state, who supported Trump in 2016 but voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, who have turned against the former president in recent weeks.

“In my post-election travels in Pennsylvania, I’ve heard from many, many formerly very pro-Trump voters that they think it’s time for our party to move on,” Toomey said, adding that the party is not moving Trump will turn away from this “overnight” and that he still has a “significant following”.

Upon reaching news week On Sunday, Toomey’s office referenced an earlier interview on CNBC in which the senator said it was “always likely” that Trump’s influence would wane.

“The ultra-pro-Trump candidates who were all about election denial — those guys burst into flames,” he said. “Often at the same time that a more conventional Republican won in the same state on the same day.”

Toomey was one of the seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial following the January 6, 2021 riots in the United States Capitol. A centrist, Toomey was one of the GOP senators who spoke out against Trump.

Republicans in Toomey’s home state suffered heavy defeats during the midterms, as Trump-backed candidates lost to their Democratic opponents in the gubernatorial and Senate elections. The Democrats also won the state’s most competitive congressional races.

Polls show Trump support slipping

Toomey’s comments come after several polls released last week pointed to worrying news for Trump.

A United States todayA Suffolk University poll released last week showed Trump trailing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by 23 points in the primary. DeSantis is considered Trump’s strongest potential GOP rival, though he hasn’t announced if he will run for president. In a general election against Biden, Trump trailed by 7 points, according to the poll.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed Trump’s approval rating was just 31 percent, the lowest since July 2015.

However, other polls have returned better results for Trump. A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll released in early December found that Trump and Biden were level in a possible 2020 rematch.

news week has reached out to Trump’s office for comment.

Update 12/18/2022 1:42 PM ET: This story has been updated to include a comment from Toomey’s office. Trump’s hold on GOP ‘waning’ after ‘terrible’ campaign launch: Toomey

Rick Schindler

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