WASHINGTON -- Pangs of fear and frustration are rippling through the Republican donor and operative classes as Donald Trump’s self-inflicted wounds threaten to fully derail the GOP legislative agenda and tarnish the party’s brand headed into the midterms.
At a Miami donor retreat and at a high-powered Washington dinner, on Capitol Hill and at political firms across the country, Republican donors and operatives this week watched the barrage of bad headlines about Trump with a mixture of awe, angst and anger, worrying about the political implications for their Republican majorities—and about the legal implications for the president.
“If you’re not concerned, you’re not paying attention,” said Austin Barbour, a Mississippi-based GOP strategist and veteran fundraiser, who is primarily worried that the Republican agenda on Capitol Hill is being hamstrung amid a constant series of controversies involving the White House.
“President Trump was elected because people believed in what he was saying, that he was going to turn the country around, bring more and better jobs to the country, fix the issues with immigration…They’ve got to deliver on that, they’ve got to be able to work with Congress to get things done.”
Interviews with Republicans in and close to the donor community revealed growing worries that Congress has been knocked off kilter by the problems engulfing Trump—and that it will be enormously challenging to get back on track as the contours of 2018 congressional races begin to take shape.
Photo credit: Susan Walsh, Associated Press