A day after Speaker Paul Ryan told fellow Republicans they were free to focus more on their own re-election rather than the fortunes of their party’s nominee for President, Donald Trump turned some of his fire on Ryan and other GOP lawmakers who have abandoned him, raising concerns within the party that the infighting could contribute to losses in Congress in November.
“Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee,” Trump said on Twitter, as he also started his Tuesday with jabs at the top Republican in Congress.
Ryan’s office on Monday even took the public step of refusing to the possibility that the Speaker might drop his endorsement of Trump.
“There is no update in his position at this time,” a spokesman told reporters.
Those comments did not sit well with Trump’s team, as a campaign spokeswoman made clear that some Trump backers might not pull the lever for Republicans running for Congress this year.
It’s that possibility that has GOP lawmakers who are running for the House and Senate worried, that if Trump loses big in November, he might take them down the tubes as well.
And it wasn’t hard to find ready-made examples of that on social media, as strong supporters of Trump see Ryan and others as expendable.
The infighting could not only hurt Republican efforts to hold on to the Senate, but some worry there could be a big spillover effect on the House of Representatives.
Asked about the party’s internal battle over Trump, one GOP member of Congress told me on Monday that the GOP is “Lost in Space.”
Four weeks from today, we’ll know if the Republicans can keep control of the Congress; right now, they are not all on the same page.