Republican Lawmakers Wonder When It's Time To Ditch Trump

Republican lawmakers face a big decision: Should they continue to ride with President Trump in hope that his poll numbers improve or abandon him to save themselves in the 2018 elections?

Trump's presidency is off to a rocky start. His job approval rating is flailing below 40 percent in the latest RealClearPolitics national polling average. The White House looks chaotic. The Republican legislative agenda is mired in Congress. The Russia investigation has started heating up with the appointment of a special counsel and ominous headlines every day.

Congressional Republicans publicly criticized Trump's handling of the firing of FBI Director James Comey and are growing impatient with the outrage du jour, though most GOP politicos still request anonymity to discuss the president candidly. "[Y]ou have this White House that is lurching from crisis to crisis, image of disarray," said a Republican pollster. "They can't get their hands around the basic day-to-day agenda."

Next year, all 435 House members and a third of senators are up for re-election. The Senate map favors the Republicans, but the GOP controls just 52 of 100 seats. Its position in the House could be more precarious. Republicans have a 24-seat majority, which includes 23 members representing districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Some of them are already starting to panic.

"You can watch how closely you hug him, but I wouldn't run away from him," said Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist. "Trump may not be everyone's cup of tea, but he is the cup of tea."

"These aren't lifetime appointments," O'Connell said. "If you can't get it done now, with a Republican House, Senate and White House, when are you ever going to be able to get it done?" He says Republicans suffer from "paralysis by analysis" but will pay a bigger price if they do nothing.

Read more from W. James Antle III, David M. Drucker at the Washington Examiner

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