Trump Angst Wracks Republicans (Again) as 2024 Announcement Looms

The divisions were certain to consume the House as well, as Representative Kevin McCarthy is trying to rally support behind his bid to be Speaker of the House. Jason Miller, a strategist assisting Mr. Trump with his campaign announcement, warned Friday, speaking on Steve Bannon’s internet radio show, that Mr. McCarthy “must be much more declarative that he supports President Trump” in 2024.

Some of the Republicans speaking out now have previously enabled Mr. Trump and his policies, either through public support or silence. While they long privately claimed to disdain Mr. Trump’s politics, they were fearful of crossing the party’s base.

Now, the party is reaping political consequences. Trump-backed candidates lost key Senate races in Pennsylvania and Arizona, as well as several House races from Alaska to North Carolina. On Saturday, Democrats were one Senate seat away from maintaining their control in the chamber and were neck-and-neck in an unsettled race in Nevada. In the House, despite predictions of a G.O.P. wave, neither party had secured a majority.

Since Tuesday’s election, The Wall Street Journal editorial page and The New York Post — owned by the conservative media baron Rupert Murdoch — called for Mr. Trump to be tossed aside. Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears of Virginia and Robin Vos, the powerful Assembly speaker in Wisconsin — both major Trump allies during and after his presidency — said Mr. Trump shouldn’t be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024.

Republican moderates used the moment to bemoan the party’s plunge into conspiracy theories and divisive issues that light up the right-wing media. Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, called for a return to classic fiscal conservatism. Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said during a SiriusXM Radio interview Friday that Mr. Trump risked “mucking up” the party’s chances of winning in Georgia.

And Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who spoke at a Trump rally in Sioux City days before the election, said on Twitter that it was time to move on from Mr. Trump’s pet issue. “Quit talking abt 2020,” he wrote.

Even on the Republican National Committee, the 168-member body that has been among Mr. Trump’s most immovable defenders, cracks are beginning to show — over not just messaging, but the messenger.


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