Republican senators fear 'bloodbath' as Joe Biden extends lead
Capitol - Shutterstock
Republican senators are increasingly distancing themselves from the White House amid growing concerns that Donald Trump may face a "carnage" defeat.
Joe Biden's lead over Trump has risen to an average of 9.6 percent in recent polls, just below the 10 percent sometimes used to define a "landslide".
Some Republican strategists and donors have begun proposing a shift in resources to protect vulnerable Senate seats, arguing that keeping the Senate in place is the best way to control a possible Biden presidency.
Ted Cruz, the Texas Senator who came second to Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, said he was "concerned" and the elections were "very volatile."
If Americans were "bullish" about the pandemic and the economy on Nov. 3, Mr Trump could still win by a "big head," he said.
But he added, “I also think if people are angry and have given up hope and depressed on election day, which is what [the democratic leadership] wants from them, I think it could be a terrible election.
"I think we could lose the White House and both Houses of Congress, it could be a Watergate-sized bloodbath."
The Senate is held by Republicans with a 53-47 majority. Of the 100 seats, 35 will be elected in this election, and 23 of those will be Republican-held.
Seats that were considered safe Republican, including in Alaska, Iowa, North Carolina, Kansas, and Montana, are now under the Democrats' sights. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the President, is now in a race in South Carolina.
When they returned to their states to fight, some Republican senators, although not Mr. Graham, were particularly cool in their comments on the president.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, was extremely critical after attendees were diagnosed with coronavirus at an event at the White House.
Speaking at a re-election event in his state of Kentucky, McConnell said, "I haven't been to the White House since Aug. 6 because I felt that their approach to how to deal with it was different from mine and what I insisted on that we wear a mask in the Senate and practice social distancing. "
McConnell, 78, who survived polio as a child, put the Senate on hiatus after two Republican senators who attended the White House event on Sept. 26 contracted the virus.
Mr McConnell's remarks were taken by some as a signal that other Republican senators were free to criticize the president over the pandemic.
McConnell - Reuters
Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's leading infectious disease expert, said the Rose Garden ceremony to appoint Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Mr. Trump's election to the Supreme Court was a "super-spreader event".
He said, "We had a super-spreader event at the White House and it was in a situation where people were huddled together and not wearing masks. So the dates speak for themselves. I wasn't surprised to see a super-spreader too see event under the circumstances. "
Tom Tillis, a Republican senator who campaigned for re-election in North Carolina and attended the ceremony and later tested positive, told local media in his state that he made a mistake removing his mask.
Mr Tillis said he still thought the president would win, but "the best check for a Biden presidency is that Republicans have a majority in the Senate."
John Cornyn, a veteran Republican senator from Texas, said Mr Trump "let the pandemic down". He told the Houston Chronicle, "I think he got off his skis and, frankly, I think that's a lesson for everyone." us that we need to exercise self-discipline. "
In Arizona, Martha McSally, a Republican who lost the race for John McCain's former Senate seat, repeatedly refused to respond when she was "proud" to support the president.
Dan Eberhart, a major Republican donor, said the "Senate map looks extraordinarily bleak," while a Republican strategist said Mr. Trump has shown himself to be an "anchor" rather than a "buoy" in some of the Senate's key races, which he was in 2016.
Other Republicans, including Senator Susan Collins, criticized the president in an important re-election campaign in Maine for not agreeing a new stimulus plan with the Democrats in Congress before the elections.
It came when the president said he was "drug-free" after his treatment and was no longer taking the steroid dexamethasone.
He was scheduled to hold his first in-person event since his diagnosis last night, speaking to an audience on the lawn from the balcony of the White House. He will hold a rally in Florida on Monday.
Meanwhile, Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, said he was released from the hospital after a week. Mr Christie, who was attending the rose garden event, was treated for coronavirus.
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