According to a report from the New York Times, prominent Republicans are making it clear to Donald Trump that he won't be receiving their votes or support as he runs for re-election — and they may endorse his presumptive opponent Joe Biden.
With one conservative commentator writing that some GOP lawmakers see the writing on the wall that the president won't be re-elected and may soon start distancing themselves from the embattled president, the Times reports that a few have already making their intentions clear that they won't back the 2020 Republican presidential nominee.
Noting that many of the top Republicans stayed away from Trump in 2016, figuring incorrectly that he couldn't win, the power of incumbency and having a Republican in the White House is still not enough to make them chnage their mind in 2020.
"It was one thing in 2016 for top Republicans to take a stand against Donald J. Trump for president: He wasn't likely to win anyway, the thinking went, and there was no ongoing conservative governing agenda that would be endangered," the Times' Jonathan Martin wrote. "The 2020 campaign is different: Opposing the sitting president of your own party means putting policy priorities at risk, in this case appointing conservative judges, sustaining business-friendly regulations and cutting taxes — as well as incurring the volcanic wrath of Mr. Trump."
With that in mind, Martin explained, GOP lawmakers past and still in office are making it known they want nothing to do with the volatile Trump.
'Far sooner than they expected, growing numbers of prominent Republicans are debating how far to go in revealing that they won't back his re-election — or might even vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee," the report states. "They're feeling a fresh urgency because of Mr. Trump's incendiary response to the protests of police brutality, atop his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private discussions."
At the top of the list is former President George W. Bush, who still has his supporters within the Republican Party.
"Former President George W. Bush won't support the re-election of Mr. Trump, and Jeb Bush isn't sure how he'll vote, say people familiar with their thinking. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah won't back Mr. Trump and is deliberating whether to again write in his wife, Ann, or cast another ballot this November," Martin reports. "And Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, is almost certain to support Mr. Biden but is unsure how public to be about it because one of her sons is eying a run for office."
Writing, "Former Republican leaders like the former Speakers Paul D. Ryan and John A. Boehner won't say how they will vote, and some Republicans who are already disinclined to support Mr. Trump are weighing whether to go beyond backing a third-party contender to openly endorse Mr. Biden," Martin added, "Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis's blistering criticism of Mr. Trump and the admission this week by Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska that she is 'struggling' with whether to vote for the sitting president of her own party have intensified the soul-searching taking place, forcing a number of officials to reckon with an act that they have long avoided: stating out loud that Mr. Trump is unfit for office."
"Mr. Trump won election in 2016, of course, in spite of a parade of Republicans and retired military officers who refused to support him. Far more current G.O.P. elected officials are publicly backing Mr. Trump than did four years ago. Among his unwavering supporters are Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and past foes like Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham," the reports states, before adding a caveat.
"Yet it would be a sharp rebuke for former Trump administration officials and well-known Republicans to buck their own standard-bearer. Individually, they may not sway many votes — particularly at a time of deep polarization. But their collective opposition, or even resounding silence, could offer something of a permission structure for Trump-skeptical Republicans to put party loyalty aside," Martin explained.
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