Republicans stepped up public criticism of former President Donald Trump on Thursday, and some said it was time for the party to move after an unexpectedly weak mid-term election result, even as it prepared to make a third White House bid next week.

Virginia’s Republican Vice Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, a once outspoken Trump supporter, said voters sent out on Tuesday a “very clear message” that “enough.”

“Voters have spoken and said they want a different leader. And a true leader understands when they become a burden, ”she told Fox Business. “A real leader understands it’s time to get off the stage. It’s time to move on. “

Earle-Sears, who was co-chair of a group called Black Americans that re-elected President Trump in 2020, also said she “simply cannot” endorse another Trump campaign.

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Some advisers have called on Trump to postpone the planned announcement until the second round of the December 6 Senate elections in Georgia, which may determine which party controls the Senate to avoid turning the race into a referendum on him and unintentionally helping the Democrats. But Trump, rejecting the advice, on Thursday invited journalists to a “Special Announcement” at his Mar-a-Lago club on Tuesday, November 15 at 9 p.m.

This forces him to attempt a comeback at a time when, after dominating the party, he finds himself in a situation of extreme vulnerability, largely unchallenged, since winning the 2016 nomination. Even so, Trump proved remarkably resilient, retaining his base’s support, even with the Access Hollywood scandal that nearly wrecked his first campaign and the fatal assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

At the same time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who easily won re-election on Tuesday, is gaining new attention as Republicans openly consider leaving Trump.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Republican No. 2 in the Senate, noted Trump’s role in lifting some of the inexperienced and controversial candidates in the election earlier this year who lost this week’s election.

In an interview, Thune said that “there is no substitute for good quality candidates.”

“We had several highly contested, competitive primaries this year,” said Thune. “In some cases, you know, there were many forces at work, including outsiders, who supported some of these races.”

Thune said he hoped the party would begin to notice the emergence of younger leaders.

“You can’t have a party that is built around one person’s personality,” he said.

Former House of Representatives chairman Paul Ryan, who clashed with Trump during his first two years in office, called Trump “heavy on our ticket,” which would hurt the party’s chances in 2024.

“We want to win the White House and we know we are much more likely to lose with Trump,” he told WISN 12 News in an interview. “If we have a candidate who is not Trump, we are much more likely to win the White House than if our candidate was Trump.”

Retiring Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey also blamed Trump for Trump’s intervention for GOP losses in his state and noted that Trump-backed candidates outperformed other Republicans.

“I think my party has to deal with the fact that if loyalty to Donald Trump is the main criterion for selecting candidates, we probably won’t be doing well,” he told CNN. “Across the country, there is a very high correlation between MAGA candidates and big losses, or at least dramatically worse results.”

Trump denied having a bad night.

“For those many people who are being fed a false narrative from corrupt media that I’m angry with the indirect, don’t believe it,” he said on his social network. “I’m not angry at all, I did a great job (it wasn’t me who was running!) And I’m very busy looking to the future. Remember, I am a “steady genius.”

There is also a chance that additional Trump-backed candidates will win their races. While the decisive victory that the Republican had predicted was to no avail, the party still seems well placed to overturn the House of Representatives and could eventually take over the Senate as well. Many races are too early to call.

“There is no such thing as bad wins or nice losses,” said Jason Miller, a former Trump campaign employee who was one of those who advised him to postpone the scheduled announcement until the second round of the Georgia election.

“Nancy Pelosi’s political career is over,” he predicted. Biden’s Agenda is Dead.

Other Trump allies have made media statements on behalf of the former president, supporting him even before his impending announcement.

“I am proud to support Donald J. Trump as president in 2024. I fully support his re-starts, “House GOP president Elise Stefanik said in a statement. “It’s time for the Republicans to unite around America’s most popular Republican with a proven track record of conservative management.”

“If it starts in 2024, it will not only receive my endorsement, but also millions of Americans across the country,” said representative Jim Banks, a leading ally in Congress.

Ohio Senate candidate JD Vance, who turned out to be Trump’s most successful candidate, said that if the former president decides to run again, he is confident he will be nominated for the party.

“Every year, the media writes the political obituary of Donald Trump. And every year we’re quickly reminded that Trump remains the most popular figure in the Republican party, ”Vance said in a statement delivered after inquiries to a Trump spokesman.

Trump’s decision to move forward now is partly driven by his willingness to freeze the field and support to stem the rise of DeSantis, which he has long regarded as his most formidable potential enemy.

As a sign of his growing frustration, Trump issued a long and angry statement on Thursday night criticizing Fox News and other Rupert Murdoch-controlled media for “all for Governor Ron DeSanctimonious DeSantis”, whom he called “an average REPUBLICAN governor.” great Public Relations ”because he re-claimed the victory of DeSantis in 2018.

While Trump’s allies had previously insisted that reports of tensions between men were inflated, Trump, who privately criticized DeSantis for not ruling out fleeing him, did so publicly.

“Well, when it comes to loyalty and class, that’s really not the right answer,” he wrote, comparing the race to the winning 2016 campaign. “We are in exactly the same situation now. They will chase us, MAGA, but we will win in the end. Put America first and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! “

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