Weeks before President Donald Trump accepts his party’s nomination, cracks are deepening within the party as a host of GOP lawmakers distance themselves from the Republican standard bearer as they weigh their election chances in November.
Republicans have increasingly split with Trump on a host of issues shadowing his administration, from his tone on racism and the removal of Confederate statues, to wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic and questions over intelligence reports of a Russia-backed bounty program on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“There’s a real disagreement between the president and his party in this election,” said Alex Conant, a GOP strategist and former aide to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “I think a lot of Republicans are really fed up with the president’s divisive strategy. People are just throwing up their hands with some of the rhetoric that’s coming out of the president. It’s really unhelpful not just to his own re-election, but also to keeping the Senate.”
Earlier this week, several GOP lawmakers said they plan to skip the party’s national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, where coronavirus cases have surged, leaving supporters, politicians and officials who plan to attend with the hard choice of risking their personal health or facing potential retaliation from the president.