Former President Donald Trump is calling for primary challenges against Senate Republicans not in favor of investigations into President Joe Biden and his family or an impeachment trial, mirroring the actions of their House counterparts.
However, some political insiders believe that Trump’s efforts might be counterproductive. A GOP strategist speaking to The Hill expressed concern that Senate Republicans might perceive Trump’s push for primary challenges as an attempt to divert attention from his legal issues, including potential indictments in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.
A GOP strategist and former Senate aide, Ron Bonjean, explained that many Senate Republicans usually adopt a more measured approach and don’t react impulsively to pressure, referencing Trump’s calls.
At a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Trump reiterated his demand for primary challengers to confront GOP senators who are not acting against Biden, arguing that any Republicans who ignore what he called “Democrat fraud” should face immediate primary opposition.
Some Senate Republicans, however, have expressed reluctance to back Trump for the GOP nomination for the presidency, being mindful of the perceptions of swing voters and moderate Republicans.
Trump criticized Senate Republicans for not taking a more forceful stance regarding Biden’s finances. He questioned why the Senate GOP leadership hasn’t denounced what he characterized as criminal acts by “crooked Joe Biden” and others.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has expressed caution on impeachment, emphasizing its rarity and expressing understanding for House Republicans who favor the idea. But he has also stated that he does not believe repeated impeachment proceedings benefit the nation.
This caution may reflect the Senate’s role in any impeachment trial, leading GOP senators to maintain an appearance of impartiality rather than accuse Biden of corruption, according to Bonjean.
As for the 2024 elections, Senate Republicans are optimistic about regaining control of the chamber, with only 11 incumbents running for re-election, compared to 23 Democratic seats being defended.
While some GOP senators, such as Mitch Romney of Utah, have openly criticized Trump, others like Pete Ricketts and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and John Barrasso of Wyoming, remain silent.
Professor Ross Baker of Rutgers University commented that Trump’s push for Senate Republicans to investigate the Biden family is putting those in competitive districts in a challenging position. He explained that moving to impeach Biden might not be well-received in those areas, adding that some constituents may tie their support for a senator to their willingness to join the “impeachment bandwagon.”