“Biggest loser tonight”: Trumpworld is “catatonic” over his MAGA midterm failure

"We have a Trump problem," a Republican complained to Fox News

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published November 9, 2022 9:22AM (EST)

Former US President Donald Trump (L) applauds Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano during a campaing rally in support of Mastriano and Mehmet Oz for US Senate at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on September 3, 2022. (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
Former US President Donald Trump (L) applauds Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano during a campaing rally in support of Mastriano and Mehmet Oz for US Senate at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on September 3, 2022. (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Prominent current and former supporters of Donald Trump have cast blame on the former president after the widely hyped "red wave" failed to materialize in Tuesday's midterm elections.

Republicans may still win control of the House but the race is currently a dead heat, and will definitely not yield the huge majority the GOP expected to pick up. Democrats have a decent chance to hold the Senate after Trump-backed candidates like Don Bolduc in New Hampshire and Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania failed to defeat their Democratic opponents. Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidates Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Tudor Dixon in Michigan also lost their races.

Overall, this appears to be one of the worst performances by an "out party" in a midterm for many years, more like a stalemate than like the famous Republican wins of 2010 and 1994, when they successfully pushed back against an unpopular Democratic president, or for that matter like the Democratic "blue wave" of 2018.

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney contrasted Trump's performance on Tuesday with that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won his re-election race by nearly 20 points after Trump refused to endorse him.

"Between being Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis tonight, you want to be Ron DeSantis," he told CBS News. "DeSantis wins tonight and Trump is not doing very well."

Former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin urged the Republican Party to ditch the former president.

"If you want the Republican Party to thrive, we've got to just finally speak out and say, 'This man is a loser,'" she told CNN.

Former Trump White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews agreed that Trump was a drag on the party.

"I think last night was the biggest indicator that Donald Trump should not be the Republican nominee in 2024," she said. "He cost Republicans winnable seats by boosting poor quality candidates."

Republican strategist Scott Jennings, a frequent Trump defender who was offered a job in his White House, predicted that the results bode poorly for Trump's chances to win the presidency.

"How could you look at these results tonight and conclude Trump has any chance of winning a national election in 2024?" he tweeted.

Conservative pundit Erick Erickson, another frequent Trump defender, said the former president shoulders the blame for Republican losses.

"Of the $100 million Trump had, he only spent $15 million and saddled the GOP with a lot of clunker candidates," he wrote. "Part of the base, however, would rather blame conspiracies than ever cast doubt on Trump."

Republican donors took notice too.

"Big money donors are telling me tonight they are ready to turn the page on Donald Trump," CNN's Alice Stewart reported on Wednesday. "They now see he is an anchor on the party and this is not just people that have not been supportive of Trump, these are Trump allies."

Leading TrumpWorld figures like Steve Bannon are "despondent" and "catatonic" over Tuesday's failures, NBC News' Ben Collins reported.

"They were looking at all these other places that did not really line up with all the polls that we're seeing in the weeks beforehand. They sort of can't believe it," he said on MSNBC. "They really did not have a plan. They were making fun of the Democrats' ability to get out the vote while they started to lose some of these races."

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An anonymous Republican source told Fox News that "if it wasn't clear before it should be now: we have a Trump problem."

The Fox News website published a headline calling Trump the "biggest loser tonight." The New York Post, which is also owned by Fox News chief Rupert Murdoch, touted DeSantis' win on its front page Wednesday, labeling him "DeFUTURE."

Pundits across cable news spent Tuesday night in awe of Trump's weakness throughout the night.

"I think you have to say Donald Trump has now presided over two disastrous midterm elections," former Obama strategist David Plouffe told MSNBC. "He's deeply unpopular, he supported a bunch of horrible Senate candidates," he added.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes said Trump "screwed" his own party.

"He is unpopular. He is unpopular," Hayes said. "He screwed you today. Screwed you. It's not the full story… but it is part of the story, and the sooner you dump him, the better it is for the Republican Party and American democracy, full stop."

ABC News' Jon Karl noted it's still unclear who will control the House but "what I can tell you is the biggest loser tonight is Donald Trump."

Trump, meanwhile, took to Truth Social to accuse the media of downplaying his wins.

"174 wins and 9 losses, A GREAT EVENING, and the Fake News Media, together with their partner in crime, the Democrats, are doing everything possible to play it down," he wrote. "Amazing job by some really fantastic candidates!"

It's not clear how the former president calculated those numbers. With many races in West Coast states still undecided, there could be several more prominent losses yet to come.

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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