The stampede for the GOP exit door continues among House Republicans. And now some of them are finally admitting it's because of Trump.
Of the 14 lawmakers who have already announced their retirement from the House in advance of next year’s midterm election cycle, 12 are Republicans. That GOP stampede for the door will likely grow stronger in coming weeks as more members face filing deadlines and have to decide if they want to raise the required millions in donations needed to run.
To date, most of the retiring Republicans have been quiet about why they’re leaving, or have stuck to talking points about wanting to spend time with their families. But one Republican, Rep. Dave Trott of Michigan, admitted this week that one of the reasons he’s leaving is Donald Trump.
Complaining to CNBC in an interview that Congress isn’t productive and that the Beltway atmosphere has become “very partisan,” Trott conceded that Trump’s unbalanced behavior is a “factor” in his decision to leave Congress.
“We have different styles and I sometimes don’t understand some of the things he does and says,” said Trott, who represents Michigan’s 11th district. “It’s a very partisan environment and I think that problem has been exacerbated under President Trump.”
Trott cited Trump’s comments following the white nationalist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, as being an example of how the president only seemed to make matters worse with his erratic actions. Trump said the white nationalist mob included some “very fine people” within its ranks.)
The congressman also suggested Trump lacked leadership skills and pointed to his failure to get a health care bill through the Republican-controlled Congress. “I mean the president blamed the Senate. I’m not sure [Ronald] Reagan would have had a problem with the Senate,” he said.
Meanwhile, with his record low approval rating for a first-year president and a legislative agenda that has yet to deliver on a single promise from his campaign platform, Trump is shaping up to be an electoral albatross for the Republicans in 2018. The GOP got a possible preview with recent losses on Election Day earlier this month, especially with statewide setbacks in Virginia.
“Exit polls revealed an unmistakable anti-Trump backlash Tuesday,” Politico reported, following the wave of GOP losses. “And the stark results cast fresh doubt on the health of Republican majorities in the House and Senate, in addition to gubernatorial races in next year’s midterm elections.”
Last week, the closely watched Cook Political Report shifted the status of seven congressional races, and boosted the odds of a Democratic win in six of them. (Democrats need to flip 24 seats to take control of the House next year.)
Noted Cook analyst Amy Walter, “A wave is building.”