Two outgoing Republican Congressmen spoke candidly about the future of their party, and about President Donald Trump, during an interview on Sunday with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt.
The two GOP lawmakers, Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello, are moderates within their party. Curbelo lost a re-election campaign in a highly contentious district, while Costello opted not to run for re-election, according to reporting from MSNBC.
Within the interview, Curbelo eluded to a major problem within the GOP in the years ahead: the president himself. According to the Florida Congressman, the Republican Party will fare much better in elections ahead “once Trump is out of the picture, either in 2020 or 2024.”
His colleague agreed with him, and further put the blame for losses that Republicans felt at the polls last November directly on Trump.
“There’s no question that [the midterm election] was about the president,” Costello said.
When Hunt asked if he planned to support Trump in the next election campaign, Costello balked.
“I don’t know, I would echo the sentiments of Senator Flake and Senator Corker that we should have a battle of ideas,” he said.
Hunt then asked if there should be a primary. Costello responded in the affirmative.
“Yeah I do. I think it’s healthy,” he explained.
Costello isn’t the only person who believes that Trump should face a primary challenger in 2020 from within his own party. Indeed, according to polling on the matter, most Americans (and a large chunk of Republicans) believe he should as well.
Per reporting from the Hill in November, just after the midterms, a poll performed jointly by Hill.TV and HarrisX found that 72 percent of Americans believed that the president should face a primary challenger in 2020 within his own party. Among just Republican respondents, a sizable portion, 43 percent, said that a primary should happen, while 57 percent said they hoped no Republican would challenge Trump in 2020.
Some Republicans who don’t want such a primary to happen may take extraordinary measures to ensure Trump doesn’t have to ward off a challenger. South Carolina Republicans, for instance, are considering canceling their 2020 primary elections altogether, according to previous reporting from the Inquisitr.
“Considering the fact that the entire party supports the president, we’ll end up doing what’s in the president’s best interest,” the state’s party chairman, Drew McKissick, said in a recently published interview.
Although no viable candidates in the Republican Party has yet announced they might run against Trump, there’s plenty of time to come to a decision to — the Iowa caucuses, the first-in-the-nation statewide voting event ahead of a slew of other primary campaigns, are set to commence 400 days from now.