Just Call Trump a Loser. His record is clear. Some nervy Republican challenger should say so.
By Mark Leibovich, April 27, 2022
Let’s assume Donald Trump runs again for president in 2024. Yes, I know, caveats, caveats. Republicans say it’s too early to discuss ’24. A lot can change between now and then. Maybe Trump won’t actually run. Maybe he’s just teasing the possibility to milk the attention. Apparently, he likes attention.But if Trump does decide to inflict himself on another race, he will enter as the clear Republican favorite, enjoying a presumption of invincibility inside the GOP.
This has engendered a belief that anyone who challenges Trump must tread lightly, or end up like the roadkill that his primary opponents became in 2016.
That notion is outdated. Trump’s bizarre and enduring hold over his party has made it verboten for many Republicans to even utter publicly the unpleasant fact of his defeat—something they will readily acknowledge in private. I caught up recently with several Trump-opposing Republican strategists and former associates of the president who argued this restraint should end. The best way for a Republican to depose Trump in 2024, they said, will be to call Trump a loser, as early and as brutally as possible—and keep pointing out the absurdity of treating a one-term, twice-impeached, 75-year-old former president like a kingmaker and heir apparent.
In other words, don’t worry about hurting Special Boy’s feelings.
“Why on earth would we hitch our wagons again to a crybaby sore loser who lost the popular vote twice, lost the House, lost the Senate, and lost the White House, and so on?” said Barbara Comstock, a longtime political consultant and former Republican congresswoman from Virginia. “For Republicans, whether they embrace the Big Lie or not, Trump is vulnerable to having the stench of disaster on him.”
Trump’s wasn’t an ordinary election defeat, either. Some nervy Republican challenger needs to remind everyone how rare it is for an incumbent president to lose reelection, and also that Trump was perhaps the most graceless loser and insufferable whiner in presidential history—the first outgoing commander in chief in 152 years to skip his successor’s swearing-in. And that he dragged a lot of Republicans down with him. As Comstock hinted, Trump was the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over his party’s loss of the House, Senate, and White House in a single term. Said nervy Republican challenger could even (just for fun) remind the former president that he once called the person he lost to “the worst presidential candidate in the history of presidential politics.”