Trump is privately furious with midterm election results, a source says

A high-level source close to the former President Donald Trump CBS News told CBS that the former president was privately furious with the results of the midterm elections, despite his social media posts touting them as a win and a “great night.”

According to the source, the former president “blamed the blame on everyone but himself,” including his advisers and Fox News host Sean Hannity. The person said Tuesday evening better than expected results for Democrats were largely due to the election becoming a “referendum” about Trump, his candidate selection, and his continued focus on renegotiating the 2020 election.

From Wednesday, CBS News estimated the Senate is a toss-up, with four remaining competitions. Two of those contests were toss-ups, and one of those, Georgia, will go to a runoff in December. The race in Arizona, meanwhile, is democratically leaning. Alaska used ranked voting and the results could take a while, although the two leading candidates are Republicans.

CBS News shapes the house as a leaning Republican. As of Wednesday night, projections showed that Republicans had won at least 210 seats and Democrats had won at least 200 seats. At least 218 seats are required for control. So if the GOP gets a majority, it will be close.

Trump has said that he will make a “very big announcement” in Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, hinting at a possible presidential bid in 2024. But three sources who were with him at Mar-a-Lago told CBS News that there is internal debate over whether Trump should announce anything before Dec. 6, whether it’s an exploratory committee or a full announcement of the White House outflow in Georgia.

“I advise the President to wait until after the Georgia race, after Herschel Walker,” former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller told Newsmax on Wednesday. “Priorities A, B and C must now revolve around Herschel. This is bigger than anything else in the country.”

A former White House aide in Trump’s orbit said he “should wait until the midterms are over, which won’t be before the Georgia runoff.”

If he announces a 2024 bid before then, the aforementioned senior source close to Trump said, “I see no way forward.” If Trump announces ahead of the Georgia runoff, that election could become a referendum on Trump — similarly like in the 2020 Georgia runoff, when Republicans lost both seats.

The senior source close to Trump, who told CBS News about the former president’s anger, said the candidate quality issue was a real factor in this week’s election. Trump based his medium-term strategy not on political strategy but on political payback. The adviser said Trump picked some candidates “who don’t know what they’re doing.”

The source, frustrated by Trump’s policy missteps, likens the enthusiasm to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ victory rally, with a few thousand in attendance and his 19-point win at Trump’s event at Mar-a-Lago with 100 of his friends and political advisers and his high-profile losses. It’s clear who American voters want, they said.

“This is a sinking ship,” the source said of the lack of enthusiasm for an emerging Trump 2024 campaign.

CBS News also spoke to Republican party officials who blamed the “candidate quality issue” — or Trump — directly for their Tuesday night losses.

Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social on Wednesday that while the outcome of the election might be seen as “a bit disappointing” for some, “from my personal perspective it was a very big victory.”

— Kathryn Watson contributed to this report

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