Trump’s Taking Down Names as Republicans Like Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins Start Jumping Ship

Over the past few weeks, Donald Trump and his allies have kept close tabs on prominent conservatives the president believes are gearing up to throw him under the bus in the event he loses his bid for re-election.

Two individuals who have spoken to Trump say the president has expressed suspicion that members of his own party believe he will be defeated by Joe Biden. That sense of paranoia has been fed by the president’s aides and confidants, who have flagged news coverage for him of Republican politicians either openly criticizing his conduct or else trying to distance themselves from a looming possible electoral bloodbath.

According to one of the sources with direct knowledge, the president is already contemplating retribution.

“[The president] said something to the effect of: If you’re backing away from him now, don’t bother coming back for a favor when he wins,” the other source said. “He made a comment about how there are some people out there who you can only count on when things are going your way.”

Some of the coverage that has been bookmarked for Trump includes recent stories on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has not only split with the president on coronavirus-related stimulus legislation but made a point of saying he hadn’t been to the White House in weeks because of its cavalier approach to the pandemic.

Trump’s frictions with Republican senators don’t stop there. This past week, the president attacked Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Twitter over “a nasty rumor” that she was going to oppose his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. He said of the endangered incumbent: “Not worth the work!”

The slight was met with sighs among Trump strategists, who noted that it was utterly unnecessary: He already has enough votes for Barrett’s confirmation.

Beyond that, there is strong suspicion within Trump’s inner sanctum that Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R-NE) office leaked the contents of a call he held with constituents in which he chastised the president for embracing dictators and not condemning conspiracists. Trump’s anger with the call boiled over on Saturday with yet another Twitter attack.

Then there’s Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who has put out two recent statements targeting what he describes as a corrosive turn in national politics. Notable in those statements was condemnation for Trump and little in the way of criticism for Biden.

“You hate to see it, but having been on Capitol Hill, one great way to get attention is to speak against your own party,” said former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who has for years served as an official Trump surrogate. “Ben Sasse is an intelligent guy and I’m sorry he’s decided this is the time to bolt, [but] I don’t know how it helps swing-state [Republicans] either…But you still don’t see the ideological people breaking. If Ralph Reed said, ‘OK, I’m out of here,’ that would be different.”

Still, those signaling that they’re ready to jump ship do include some major players in conservative politics. One of the president’s most powerful and influential confidants, billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has been telling associates he thinks Biden will win in a landslide, as The Daily Beast reported last week. Murdoch specifically said he had been repelled by the president’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis.

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