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‘Toxic’ Trump is branded a ‘disaster’ by senior GOP figures for ‘sabotaging’ expected GOP ‘red wave’

Republican strategists were licking their wounds on Wednesday as the post-mortem following the midterms began – with senior figures in the party branding Donald Trump a ‘disaster’ and accusing him of ‘sabotaging’ their expected cruise to victory.

Many Democrats went into election night dreading how bad their losses could be and pondering how to explain them.

By Wednesday, they had quickly shifted into day-after hoping that they could actually maintain a voting majority in the Senate, celebrating victories in key governors’ races, and aware that control of the House was still not declared.

Trump has promised to make a ‘major announcement’ on November 15, but many are trying to convince him to reconsider the expected launch of his 2024 campaign, given how well his rival Ron DeSantis, re-elected as governor of Florida, performed.

‘Between being Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis tonight, you want to be Ron DeSantis,’ said Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff.

‘DeSantis wins tonight and Trump is not doing very well.’

Donald Trump on Wednesday was forced to deny reports he erupted in anger at the midterms results, which saw many of his handpicked candidates fail. He insisted he was delighted with the showing

According to The New York Times' Maggie Haberman, who recently released a scathing biography about Trump, the former president is particularly 'furious' that Oz lost - and is 'blaming his wife' for advising him to support him. They are shown yesterday leaving a polling station in Palm Beach

According to The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, who recently released a scathing biography about Trump, the former president is particularly ‘furious’ that Oz lost – and is ‘blaming his wife’ for advising him to support him. They are shown yesterday leaving a polling station in Palm Beach 

Piers Morgan, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer and Dr. Oz are shown in 2013 at a book party. Melania is said to have encouraged her husband to support Oz in the 2022 midterm elections

Piers Morgan, Melania Trump, Donald Trump, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer and Dr. Oz are shown in 2013 at a book party. Melania is said to have encouraged her husband to support Oz in the 2022 midterm elections 

Republicans were left grumbling about ‘candidate quality,’ with many pointing the finger at the 76-year-old former president.

‘Never forget. Trump picked sure losers in winnable races,’ said Gregg Nunziata, a former member of Marco Rubio’s team in the Senate.

‘He picked weak candidates in otherwise slam dunk races requiring the party to spend tons of money we’d rather spend elsewhere.

‘Of, and speaking of money, he hoovered up tens of millions and barely spent a dime to help Rs.’

Scott Reed, a veteran Republican strategist, said: ‘I mean, we had a historic opportunity and Trump’s recruitment of unelectable candidates blew it for us. 

‘Trump’s now lost three elections in a row for the Republican Party and it’s time to snap out of this foolishness.’ 

Fox News’ White House correspondent, Jacqui Heinrich, tweeted: ‘GOP source tells me ‘if it wasn’t clear before it should be now. We have a Trump problem’.’

Donald Trump, pictured last night at a Mar-a-Lago election event, is being widely blamed for the Republicans' underwhelming performance in yesterday's midterms

Donald Trump, pictured last night at a Mar-a-Lago election event, is being widely blamed for the Republicans’ underwhelming performance in yesterday’s midterms

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and Trump ally, accused the former president of selfishly pursuing his own interests.

He blamed Trump for elevating deeply flawed candidates, who won their primaries but struggled in the general election.

‘The only animating factor (for him) in determining an endorsement is, ‘Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen or don’t you?’ Christie said. 

‘It’s not, ‘Can you raise money?’ 

‘It’s not, ‘Do you have an articulatable vision for the future of your state or your district?’ 

‘It’s not evidence of past success in communicating to voters. 

‘It is a completely self-centered determination.’

Trump on Wednesday was forced to deny reports that he had erupted in anger at all those around him – including his wife Melania – over the losses.

Many of his high-profile endorsements lost their races – among them Dr Mehmet Oz, the television doctor running for the Senate in Pennsylvania, whose candidacy Melania Trump reportedly backed.

‘I’m very disappointed,’ said Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican who is retiring, and whose seat was won by Democrat John Fetterman.

‘I think a huge factor in all of this was the disastrous role of Donald Trump in this whole process.’

Doug Mastriano, one of the most hard-line Trump candidates, lost his race to be governor of Pennsylvania.

In New Hampshire, Karoline Leavitt, a 25-year-old hard-right Republican who served as an assistant in Trump’s White House press office, lost her race. Incumbent Chris Pappas, a two-term Democratic congressman, was re-elected in a hard-fought race.

Also in the state, Don Bolduc, an election-denying proud MAGA candidate, lost the Senate race to Maggie Hassan – giving Democrats a sigh of relief.

Hassan was considered among the most vulnerable Democrats.

In Maryland, Dan Cox lost the gubernatorial contest to Wes Moore, who became the first black person to govern Maryland and only the third black governor in U.S. history.

Cox, who has described the 2020 presidential election as ‘stolen’ and volunteered as a lawyer to block the certification of the results in Pennsylvania, attacked the incumbent Republican governor, Larry Hogan, for harming his chances.

Hogan called Cox a ‘whack job’.

Oz is seen on Tuesday night delivering his concession speech. He lost to Democrat John Fetterman

Oz is seen on Tuesday night delivering his concession speech. He lost to Democrat John Fetterman

Karoline Leavitt, who worked in Trump's White House, lost her bid for a seat in the House representing New Hampshire

Karoline Leavitt, who worked in Trump’s White House, lost her bid for a seat in the House representing New Hampshire

Dan Cox was backed by Trump to be the governor of Maryland, but lost to Wes Moore

Dan Cox was backed by Trump to be the governor of Maryland, but lost to Wes Moore

‘As it turns out, candidates and campaigns matter,’ said Kevin McLaughlin, an ally of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and a former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

McConnell attempted to steer the Republicans away from some of the more extreme MAGA candidates, arguing that they were not electable.

He was overruled by Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, and by Rick Scott, Florida Senator and chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

McCarthy himself on Wednesday launched his campaign to be Speaker of the House come January, when all the votes are counted – assuming the Republicans do win the majority.

But even that was hanging in the balance, with some Republicans saying they no longer trusted McCarthy, given the lackluster performance in Tuesday’s vote.

‘Kevin McCarthy has not done anything to earn my vote for speaker,’ said Bob Good, a member of the House representing Virginia.

He told Axios: ‘I believe there’s a number of members who feel as I do and who will support a challenge to him as the speaker when we convene next week.’

Andy Biggs, a congressman for Arizona, said the issue needed to be debated, saying ‘Speaker McCarthy’ was not a foregone conclusion.

Questions were being asked as to whether McCarthy had the necessary political skills to keep the party in line, if they only win a small majority.

One House Republican source told Fox News that the Freedom Caucus – the most conservative and hard right grouping in the House – would wield substantial power in a narrowly-held House.

‘The Freedom Caucus is more powerful in a smaller majority,’ said one House Republican source. ‘The knives are out. I hope Kevin can pull it out.’

And many of Trump’s allies were encouraging him to reconsider his November 15 announcement. 

Trump's former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday her former boss should wait until after the Georgia runoff next month to announce a run for president

Trump’s former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday her former boss should wait until after the Georgia runoff next month to announce a run for president

Pressed by host Harris Faulkner on if Trump should delay his reelection announcement, she said: 'I think he needs to put it on pause, absolutely'

Pressed by host Harris Faulkner on if Trump should delay his reelection announcement, she said: ‘I think he needs to put it on pause, absolutely’

Former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who now works for Fox News, advised on air that Trump should hold off on an announcement until after the Georgia Senate runoff.

‘I think he needs to put it on pause,’ she said. 

Asked whether Trump should campaign in the state, she said: ‘I think we’ve got to make strategic calculations. 

‘Governor DeSantis, I think he should be welcomed to the state, given what happened last night. You’ve got to look at the realities on the ground.’

Judd Gregg, a former Republican senator for New Hampshire, said the results were shocking.

‘Most people thought the economy being not very good, and with the vote being extremely heavy that more Republicans would do well,’ he said.

People voted on three things, he said: ‘Trump, abortion, and rejection of Republicans who bought into this cult theory of conspiracy.’

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