He may not have lost Republican votes…
But he sure did NOT make GOPer’s who have spoken to the media on the record and off….
Trump maybe telling crowds he won….
The party leader gets a thumbs down from a lot of Republicans….
Biden, who launched a train tour through the battlegrounds of Ohio and Pennsylvania, continued to pitch himself as a champion of working-class voters and saw Democrats rally around what they view as Trump’s threat to American democracy.
But few Republicans voiced outrage in the wake of Trump’s norm-shattering spectacle in Cleveland on Tuesday, including his statement that the extremist Proud Boys, a male-only far-right group known for street violence, should “stand back and stand by.” Responses ranged from silence to muted criticism, reflecting how the GOP remains convinced that an alliance with Trump and his voters is crucial for its survival.
But hewing too close to him is also seen as a mistake by some Republicans, particularly for those who wish to court moderates and independent voters….
As the dust settled in Cleveland and the Trump campaign claimed victory over a “weak” performance by former Vice President Joe Biden, others involved in his reelection effort were less convinced the president did himself any favors. If anything, they said, he might have done more harm than good.
Indeed, the leading complaint from some of Trump’s top allies after the opening debate was not the perceived unfairness of moderator Chris Wallace — though they took repeated issues with the Fox News anchor’s performance — or Biden’s evasive answer to a question related to the Supreme Court, but the president’s own demeanor. Overcome with scorn for Biden, Trump jabbed and jeered his way through the night without ever giving his opponent a chance to self-implode. The strategy confounded supporters who had giddily approached the first debate thinking it would be a prime opportunity for voters to see the 77-year-old Democratic presidential nominee stumble through answers with rambling responses and cringe-worthy gaffes.
One Trump adviser had flashbacks to the O.J. Simpson trial, likening Trump to the football legend’s domineering defense attorney Barry Scheck and Biden to frazzled prosecutor Marcia Clark. But while Scheck may have “brilliantly” saved his client with merciless cross-examinations, the adviser said Trump’s attempts to corner Biden only further imperiled his unstable campaign….
An aide to one vulnerable Republican incumbent senator said the most damaging impression left by the debate was Trump’s “unpresidential” demeanor on the debate stage but argued that Biden was spattered by the mudslinging as well.
Even Trump’s staunchest allies in the Senate Republican conference were left wincing over his debate performance.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said he didn’t think there was a “clear winner” at the debate but acknowledged “our president was a little too forceful.”
“I think you’ll see that will be changed,” he said, advising Trump to “restrain himself a little bit” the next time he faces Biden….