RNC chairwoman says GOP lawmakers distancing themselves from Trump do so at their own peril

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Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel dismisses claims that GOP lawmakers are seeking to distance themselves from President Donald Trump as Election Day draws near.

McDaniel told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that Republicans are not only united behind the president’s reelection bid, but any who don’t recognize the benefit of supporting him will only harm their own political careers in the end.

“As RNC chair, are you at all concerned that the president’s in kind of open warfare with his own senators,”  Stephanopoulos asked McDaniel on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday.

The question came following a discussion on the recent insulting remarks about Trump made by Sen. Ben Sasse during a telephone conference call with constituents. Trump lashed out at the Nebraska Republican who feared a “blue tsunami” is coming in November. Sasse, who is up for reelection on Nov. 3, was heard in audio of the call slamming the president in a nearly 10-minute response to a constituent’s question.

(Relevant portion in ABC News video appears at 5:51 mark)

(Source: ABC News)

McDaniel asserted that she is not concerned with the issue the ABC News host was pressing.

“I think this president is fighting for the American people everyday. I’m not worried about Washington beltway politics,” she said.

“Are you starting to see Republican senators running on a separate track from President Trump,”  Stephanopoulos asked, bringing up comments from Sasse as well as Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine who are also up for reelection.

“I’m not,” McDaniel replied. “I think all of them have been running those similar races all along.”

She went on to note that she is “seeing more enthusiasm than I saw in 2016.”

“I study the data every day. We know that our voters are going to turn out on Election Day. They don’t trust mail-in balloting as much,” the RNC chair continued. “We are seeing this huge energy, and we are seeing really great numbers coming out for the president, and this is a race. And any Republican that doesn’t recognize that running with the president is going to help them is hurting themselves in the long run.”

Speaking of Sasse and his comments directly, McDaniel said, “Ben’s been there for a long time.”

“It’s not surprising. It’s the only time he gets news is when he criticizes this president,” McDaniel said. “But the party, and the energy we’re seeing on the ground, and the rallies, and what we’re seeing for this president is unprecedented in terms of the support he’s receiving from Republicans across the country.”

Trump had called out Collins last week, saying she isn’t “worth the work” after her opposition to moving forward with confirming the president’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

“There is a nasty rumor out there that @SenatorCollins of Maine will not be supporting our great United States Supreme Court Nominee,” Trump tweeted. “Well, she didn’t support Healthcare or my opening up 5000 square miles of Ocean to Maine, so why should this be any different. Not worth the work!”

Collins is in a heated race against challenger Sara Gideon, Maine’s Democratic House Speaker, in her bid to secure a fifth term in Congress. One of several vulnerable GOP senators, Collins has broken with Trump at times while also backing him on some issues and voting to confirm his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Trump called out Sasse and his “stupid and obnoxious ways” in tweets criticizing the senator as a “liability” to the GOP and an “embarrassment” to his state.


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