The long-anticipated GOP primary challenge to President Trump is practically dead in the wake of Robert Mueller’s investigation, which showed that the president did not collude with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton.
According to Fox News, the only pledged challenger to Trump taking the 2020 GOP nomination is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who has neither a mandate nor any traction to take on the man with solid approval ratings among the base. At least for now, it also looks like Weld will be going into this prospective primary challenge alone, considering that every other potential challenger has dropped out or shown signs of cold feet. For instance, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who went as far to campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, announced he will no longer mount a primary challenge against the president.
“I truly appreciate all of the encouragement I received from people around the nation urging me to consider making a run for President in 2020. However, I will not be a candidate,” Hogan tweeted on Saturday.
Simultaneously, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced last Friday that he has begun to doubt a primary challenge, admitting that it will be a fruitless pursuit.
“I don’t see a way to get there,” Kasich said on CNN. “Right now, there’s no path.”
Later, Kasich’s top political adviser John Weaver told Fox News that “nothing has changed … every day the tables could turn,” which was closely followed up by Kasich saying on Twitter “that while the path looks tough, all of my options are on the table.”
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a popular potential primary challenger among the Never Trump crowd, has given no formal announcement on whether he will or will not rise up to take on President Trump. Upon his entry into the U.S. Senate earlier this year, he issued a scathing rebuke of Trump in a Washington Post op-ed in which he mercilessly trashed the leader of the free world for falling short of character.
“To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation,” Romney said. “A president should unite us and inspire us to follow ‘our better angels.’ A president should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity, and elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect.”
Ryan Williams, the former spokesman for Romney 2012 presidential campaign, has declared that “President Trump is all but assured the Republican nomination and any potential Republican challenger should understand that.”
“If you’re an incumbent politician like Gov. Hogan or a former politician with a TV gig like Gov. Kasich, I think you have to take a look at the numbers and see that this would be a fruitless endeavor to challenge him,” Williams told Fox News.
Former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu also told Fox News that a primary challenge against Trump would be a “fool’s errand.”
“Among most Republicans it’s seen as a fool’s errand,” Sununu said. “The president’s got very strong support among Republicans and it appears to be getting stronger and stronger every day.”