“The best thing that President Trump could do to help us win majorities in 2022 is talk about the future, and he can be an important part of that — this ’22 effort,” said Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt over the weekend. “But I think better off to talk about the future than to focus on the past.”
Blunt’s advice to Trump to, well, move on from the 2020 election is simply the latest example of prominent Republicans telling the former president to do just that.
“Relitigating 2020 is a recipe for disaster in 2022,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said earlier this month. “Let’s talk about the future. The election is past, it’s been certified, the states made decisions on the integrity of each of their elections and made improvements where it need be. It’s about the future, it’s not about the last election, and that — those kinds of comments are not constructive. We can win in 2022. And we’re going to, but let’s focus on the important issues of our supply chain, of getting over this pandemic, about freedom, and not the, not the last election.”
And just six days ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN’s Manu Raju that “we need to be thinking about the future and not the past,” adding: “I think the American people are focusing on this administration, what it’s doing to the country, and it’s my hope the ’22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020.”
So the message is blunt: Time to stop talking about the 2020 election and focus on the 2022 one.
And is Trump listening? He is not!
On Monday, Trump sent out a message from his Save America PAC that read: “ICYMI: ‘Explosive Revelations in Wisconsin’s 2020 Election Audit Report.‘” Wrote Trump: “And this is just the beginning—other Swing States are even (far) worse!”
Over the weekend, Trump issued a statement in which he claimed that “the other side spent four years making things up about election interference in 2016, yet when it really did happen in 2020, you’re not allowed to talk about it.”
And there was this from late last week: “Despite [John McCain’s] fighting against me, I won Arizona by a lot in 2016 and won Arizona by even more in 2020—unfortunately the vote counters in 2020 were far more important than the candidate.”
In that same period of time, Trump sent a total of zero statements about the 2022 election or any Republican candidate running for office next year.
The reality here is that Trump is going to do what he wants — and what he always wants is to do what he thinks is good for him. If that happens to dovetail with something that is good for the likes of any other Republican, that’s fine. But it’s not at all what animates anything he does.
Trump cares first, second and last about Trump. While he is the most powerful and most popular figure in the Republican Party, he is not, in any meaningful way, a leader of that party. He will continue to do what he wants, when he wants — no matter what Blunt, McConnell or any other Republican says.