McConnell signal to Republican Senate candidates: Distance from Trump if necessary

Source: CNN | July 31, 2020 | Michael Warren and Jamie Gangel

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Mitch McConnell is allowing Republican Senate candidates to do whatever it takes to salvage their campaigns ahead of what Republicans increasingly fear could be a devastating election for their party.

In recent weeks, the Senate majority leader has become so concerned over Republicans losing control of the Senate that he has signaled to vulnerable GOP senators in tough races that they could distance themselves from the President if they feel it is necessary, according to multiple senior Republicans including a source close to McConnell.

That could mean breaking with Trump on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the continued efforts by the President to paint an optimistic picture despite rising cases and deaths across parts of the country, especially in many Republican states in the South and Midwest.

While this may give some senators the flexibility to draw a distinction between themselves and the President, it also forces them to walk a tightrope. Trump remains enormously popular with the Republican base, and any attempts to undercut him risks alienating those voters.

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