Although many expected the Mueller report to be a political game changer that pushed more GOP contenders to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld remains the only Republican that has entered the race.
Per ABC News, the anti-Trump Republicans who were banking on the report to be a catalyst for change in the party are disappointed with the response. Former 2016 independent candidate Evan McMullin said that he is “truly disappointed” and is disheartened by the Republicans that “openly talk” about their electability instead of what he believes should be the most important focus — their oath to protect the constitution.
“Instead of honoring that oath, almost all elected Republicans are choosing just to look out for themselves and make sure they’ll be reelected the next round. It’s amazing how openly they talk about that.”
But a senior Republican operative suggested to ABC News that things are different when the doors are closed. He claims that there are some Republicans that have become more vocal in private about GOP tension following the release of the report.
“It’s a shame that we can’t do better,” the source said. “The fact that [the Mueller report] is being absorbed and it hasn’t upended the political status quo is a commentary on where the bar has been set for Republicans.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 58 percent of Americans believe that Trump lied to the public about the Mueller investigation. In addition, just three in 10 believe that the president was exonerated. Not only that, but most Americans believe that the report was even-handed and fair — even in the face of Trump’s constant attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s credibility.
NEW: Here’s what GOPers told me about their Mueller report response:
“It's a shame that we can't do better.”
“Not much incentive for them to stick their heads up at this point.”
“Most of it just spelled out in detail what we saw play out on Twitter.”https://t.co/nRwqEatVoM
— Will Steakin (@wsteaks) April 27, 2019
All in all, the data seems to suggest that the fallout from the Mueller report should have been much more dramatic. But for now, it appears that Republicans in Congress are maintaining the course they set when Trump entered office.
When McMullen was asked if the Mueller report could drive other candidates to enter the race, he said that he is hopeful.
“I hope that more Republicans get into the race.”
However, he noted that it’s “highly unlikely” that he’ll run again.
Conversely, veteran Republican pundit Bill Kristol, a vocal critic of Trump, believes that there isn’t much of a chance the Mueller report will push Republicans on the sidelines into the race. But he added that it could begin to chip away Trump’s support among certain “reluctant Trump acquiescer.”