- Trump has made his endorsements a cornerstone of his post-presidential life.
- But Americans on Tuesday dealt devastating blows to his brand by rejecting key candidates in closely-contested races.
- Dr. Mehmet Oz and Don Bolduc lost. While JD Vance is headed for the Senate and Herschel Walker will fight on through a runoff.
Donald Trump ensured he was on the ballot Tuesday night as the self-described "king of endorsements." But he apparently wasn't a kingmaker.
So far, Americans have dealt devastating blows to his brand by rejecting key candidates in closely-contested races. Rather than a so-called "red wave," results were still unclear on Wednesday. Republicans are likely to win control of the House but the Senate is still in play for both parties.
Trump is under fire over the midterms. DeSantis is rising. And a 2024 rivalry is just beginning.
The GOP's midterm failures dented Donald Trump's aura of inevitability and created a bigger opening for potential 2024 opponents such as Ron DeSantis."Two more years! Two more years!" they chanted at a victory rally where DeSantis became the brightest star on a dim election night for Republicans. The GOP's lackluster performance in an array of congressional races dented Trump's aura of inevitability and created a bigger opening for a potential challenger to the former president, who is hinting he may announce a fresh presidential bid Tuesday.
Former reality TV star Mehmet Oz was one of Trump's picks who could have helped Republicans hang onto a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, but he lost to Democrat John Fetterman. Republicans hoped retired Army General Don Bolduc, another Trump endorsee, could have flipped a Senate seat in New Hampshire. Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan won re-election.
Republican Herschel Walker, meanwhile, will fight on through a Georgia runoff. In a win for Trump, author JD Vance heads to the Senate from Ohio.
The legally challenged, twice-impeached former president put great effort into continuing to rebrand the Republican Party, making more than 250 general election endorsements, according to Ballotpedia. He is expected to formally announce his own candidacy soon.
True to form, Trump began the night by already trying to craft an exit strategy from the torrent of criticism he may face for his role in the GOP's struggles. "I think if they win, I should get all the credit, and if they lose, I should not be blamed at all," Trump told NewsNation during an interview on Tuesday.
DeSantis reportedly 'distancing' himself from Trump as rumblings of a potential 2024 White House run grow louder: 'There's no upside to rolling around in the mud with Trump'
"If he's seen getting things done while Trump wails in the background, that's a win," the Dsantis source told the NYP."There is no upside to rolling around in the mud with Trump at this point," the DeSantis source told the right-leaning outlet. "Only downside.
He blamed Bolduc's loss on his 2020 election pivots. "Don Bolduc was a very nice guy, but he lost tonight when he disavowed, after his big primary win, his longstanding stance on Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Primary," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "Had he stayed strong and true, he would have won, easily. Lessons Learned!!!"
As Republican's struggles began to mount, the knives for Trump began to come out.
"If you want the Republican Party to thrive, we've got to just finally speak out and say, 'This man is a loser, he lost 2020, he's losing a seat that is winnable this time," former Trump aide Alyssa Farah Griffin said on CNN.
By Wednesday's early morning hours, Trump was spinning the elections as "A GREAT EVENING" on Truth Social, and blaming the media and Democrats for downplaying it.
Here's how some of his most high profile endorsees fared.