In a move that looks certain to backfire, the Republican Party just forced Trump to endorse vulnerable Republican senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.
Video of Trump appearing to read his endorsement of Paul Ryan:
JUST IN: @realDonaldTrump says he supports and endorses @SpeakerRyan https://t.co/1K0hmd6Z3W pic.twitter.com/jZjSw2SDPY
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 6, 2016
It turns out that the Republican nominee was reading from a script:
Donald Trump is literally reading from a script as he endorses Paul Ryan, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) August 6, 2016
Trump also read from his hostage script an endorsement of Sens. McCain and Ayotte.
The problem with the idea of Trump endorsing McCain and Ayotte is that polling is beginning to show that Trump is hurting incumbent Republican senators.
As 538 noted earlier this week, there appears to be a relationship between Ayotte’s poll numbers and Trump’s. The problem for Republicans is that the only way that they may keep the Senate is if voters split their ballots by voting against Trump, but for their incumbent Republican senator.
What the Republican Party just had Trump do was the exact opposite of what they needed. Democrats are already cutting ads using the endorsement footage against McCain and Ayotte.
The fact that Trump is a terrible candidate has obscured the fact that the Republican Party has used some terrible strategy in presidential election years. Having the wildly unpopular Trump endorse vulnerable incumbent senators in swing states could be one one of the biggest blunders of the entire year.
The endorsements happened because Republicans are still trying to project an image of unity, but the faux unity that they are building could hand the Senate majority to Democrats in November.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association