Home Politics Elections Sex abuse verdict renews Republican doubts about Trump’s electable ability

Sex abuse verdict renews Republican doubts about Trump’s electable ability


A New York jury found on Tuesday that Donald Trump was liable For Sexual Exploitation After author E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s and then maligning him, debate has reignited within the Republican Party over the former president-elect as he gains an early-voting lead for the 2024 nomination.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (RN.D.), who has not endorsed anyone in the GOP primary, said Tuesday that “a ruling like this doesn’t put the checkbox in the positive category” and suggested that it “certainly” would be a liability in a general election.

“His first go-around, there were a lot of swing-type voters who were open to the opportunity and I think a lot of voters gave up on him in the second go-around and it reminded him of that,” Cramer said.

opposite of this almost equal support For Trump in response to his indictment last month in a hush-money scheme, many of Trump’s current and potential rivals were quiet on Tuesday’s decision. While many Republicans fired off statements casting Trump as the target of political attack, some in the party are now making misgivings about the potential political damage from the Carroll case.

“It has a cumulative effect,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican, said Tuesday of Trump’s legal pileup. “People have to decide if they want to deal with all the drama.”

Tuesday’s responses reflected the political uncertainty surrounding Trump’s bid for another White House term, as he faces an intensifying legal crisis. Although he has a wide polling lead in the Republican primary and support for him has in some ways hardened since his indictment, Trump is facing multiple ongoing criminal investigations at various stages.

Atlanta-area district attorneys are considering Trump and allies pressuring state officials to change the 2020 election results, and a federal special counsel, Jack Smith, is trying to overturn the election and collect money from false claims of election fraud. Investigating mobilization efforts, as well as mishandling of classified material. His company is also facing a civil suit by the New York Attorney General alleging fraudulent business practices.

When it comes to the case involving Carroll, opponents from both parties are already discussing how judgments and clips from Trump’s statements could turn into powerful campaign attack ads. Democrats said the jury’s finding could damage Trump’s standing with women, but some Republicans, including those aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), cautioned that Trump’s personal conduct The disapproval of is already baked in for many voters.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a close McConnell ally, expressed doubt that Trump could win a general election, but predicted the decision would not have an effect, noting that voters already know about Trump. has a strong opinion.

Trump’s Republican rivals are searching for lines of attack that could prove effective against the former president, who is highly popular within the party. His biggest rival for the nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has mostly refrained from criticizing Trump as he prepares to officially launch his campaign in the coming weeks. DeSantis and his colleagues have touted their landslide victory last fall, signaling an intention to make electrification a selling point.

The Trump campaign has already tested several allegations against Trump among Republican primary voters, and found that they did not move the needle, and that Republican primary voters generally did not believe the allegations, according to two consultants who have worked on the situation. Had talked. Anonymity to discuss internal data and strategy.

Trump’s advisers have long seen his challenges with winning over women voters with college degrees as a key problem, but much of his strategy so far has been focused on defeating Republican rivals in a primary election. Not on winning the general election.

“We’re going to be very aggressive in attacking this decision,” said one of the advisers. “We’re going to present pieces of evidence and the story that the judge didn’t allow in court.”

The consultant said that as the campaign focused on Republican primary voters, “my gut assessment is it’s not going to be a big deal.”

Trump struck a fiery tone Tuesday as he faced other legal setbacks. “This verdict is a disgrace – a continuation of the greatest witch hunt ever!” he said on his Truth Social website.

In a recent focus group conducted by the anti-Trump Republican Accountability Project with two-time Trump voters without college degrees, only one in seven participants said she was familiar with the test. “This happened a few years ago and the witnesses are two of her friends,” said the participant, a woman from Florida named Chandra. “It’s kind of stupid.”

Trump is already behind in terms of female voters, contributing to his narrow Electoral College defeat in 2020. latest in Washington Post-ABC News PollWomen split 44 percent for President Biden and 41 percent for Trump, while Trump led with men 48 percent to 31 percent. The gender gap was similar in the matchup between Biden and DeSantis.

Republican consultant and pollster Frank Luntz said, “Everyone has made up their mind about Donald Trump, and some Republicans are completely willing to ignore everything he says, no matter how arrogant it may be. ” “Where this comes into play and where it matters is one important swing group: women with kids in suburban areas who are economically conservative and socially moderate, but you won’t hear a glimmer of them until November.”

The Republican voices lamenting Tuesday’s decision didn’t come close to expressing the outright panic that followed its publication in 2016. “Access Hollywood” tape In which Trump bragged about unwanted sexual antics. In a statement made public as part of the Carroll trial, Trump defended his remarks on the earlier recording that “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything, they Grab it P—Y.

“If you look over the last million years, I think, that’s largely been true,” Trump said in the statement, which was videotaped. “Not always but to a large extent, true. Unfortunately or fortunately.

Trump’s adviser described him as angered by the decision as he mingled with aides Tuesday afternoon. In social media posts, he denied knowing Carroll. His legal team has said they plan to appeal the verdict, and Trump’s campaign released a lengthy statement attacking Carroll, his attorney, the judge and the evidence.

In private, Trump dismissed Carroll as “Ms. Bergdorf,” referring to the Bergdorf Goodman department store where she said Trump assaulted her. Trump also said he didn’t assault her because she was too old — and if he had, it would have been a department store. Not in the dressing room, but on one of his own properties.

The Trump campaign declined to comment on those comments.

Trump supporters on Capitol Hill reiterated their defense of the former president on Tuesday. Sen. Bill Haggerty (R-Tenn.), who has endorsed Trump, described the decision as “another act in the legal circus going on in Manhattan to take down Donald Trump.” Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (RS.C.) quipped: “I guess you can blame Donald Trump for kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.”

Carroll’s decision could further complicate Trump’s legal woes by barring some lawyers from working for him, according to a person in Trump’s orbit. The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity to be more specific about Trump’s legal challenges.

The man said, “Beating a rape victim to make her scream doesn’t work.” “The result is unfortunate, predictable and entirely avoidable. Does it have any direct impact on other matters? Not necessarily. But it certainly doesn’t help,” said this person.

Advisers and lawyers didn’t want Trump to testify and was caught off guard when he recently said he was going to New York, while surrounded by reporters on his golf course in Scotland. Advisors said he had no plans to move to New York. He falsely said on Truth Social that he could not testify; Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina told the court that his client had waived his right to testify.

“The fact that someone attacked a woman like that is shocking,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who voted to convict Trump for inciting a mutiny in the 2021 impeachment trial, said said of Carroll’s decision on Tuesday. “Would you like to do this to your spouse? To your sister? To your mother? So I hope that’s an idea.

Trump is scheduled to participate in a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Wednesday. A close adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private deliberations, said he was committed to Town Hall “100%” and was set to film policy and fundraising videos at his club Tuesday night. Had been.

Michael Shire, Paul Kane and Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

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