During an appearance on CNBC, Axios co-founder Mike Allen said that some Republicans believe President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior in recent weeks is designed to “sabotage” the GOP’s chances of winning the Georgia runoff elections, which will determine which of the two major political parties will have control of the Senate.
“There’s a big strain of thought among Republicans that President Trump is sabotaging this race. He’s done so much to be unhelpful to those candidates,” Allen told “Squawk Box,” referring to GOP Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are up against Democrats Jon Ossoff and The Rev. Raphael Warnock respectively.
“I talk to Republicans and they look at what’s happening, and they say, ’You know, he must be thinking, ‘I want to send a message, If I’m not on the ballot, Republicans are in trouble,” he added.
Strong early voter turnout in Georgia has given Democrats hope that they can take the state and worried Republicans who once thought winning these races in a reliably red state would be simple. Earlier this week, a Politico report noted that “More than 2.3 million people have voted as of Tuesday morning through mail-in ballots or in-person early voting for the two races, already topping the record for the most votes in a Georgia runoff election.”
To that end, “Georgia, despite the president-elect winning there, is still pretty red so Republicans said, ‘In the end, this could be fine.’ They’re no longer sure it’s fine, and a lot of that has to do with the president,” Allen said.
Recently, Loeffler and Perdue found themselves in the crossfire after President Trump upended coronavirus stimulus negotiations with a demand that the direct payment amount Americans will receive be raised from $600 to $2000. Ossoff and Warnock used the president’s statements to criticize their opponents; Loeffler and Perdue have since backed Trump’s call for $2000 checks though Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the majority leader, has blocked attempts to raise the amount of the direct payments even after the House voted to do so.
“Republicans look at it and they say, ‘Like everyday President Trump is saying something that either puts those candidates on the spot or makes some of those …. voters who were maybe queasy about Trump anyway but are Republicans in their bones, like everyday he gives them a reason either not to come out or to decide to go the other way,’” Allen said.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.