Trump endorsements draw scrutiny inside GOP: The Note

More than a few Republicans hope his plays backfire.

April 8, 2022, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The main attraction at a Trump rally is always going to be former President Donald Trump.

But Saturday night in North Carolina, some friends Trump is helping could be just as interesting -- and will raise fresh questions about the role Trump is playing inside GOP primaries.

There with Trump will be Rep. Madison Cawthorn, fresh off his orgy-and-coke interview and still facing questions about why he considered switching House districts. Also, there will be another 26-year-old running for Congress, Bo Hines, who will be with Trump in the district he wants to represent but a few hours' drive from where he actually lives.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally near Washington, Michigan, April 02, 2022.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally near Washington, Michigan, April 02, 2022.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Then there's Rep. Ted Budd, whose Senate candidacy in North Carolina has drained millions in an intraparty fight many wanted to avoid.

Trump's political operation isn't spending barely anything on the candidates he favors. More than a few Republicans hope Trump's plays backfire and prove that his sway is not what it once was, or all that it seems.

"Trump is trying to insert himself in races all across the country where people he's supporting are crazy," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in a story posted Friday morning.

Trump's status as the most popular figure inside the GOP is not in serious question. But his role as a power broker is on the line when the primary season heats up in May, in North Carolina and across the map.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

A handful of Arizona Republicans are facing efforts to disqualify their candidacies ahead of the midterm elections.

A group of Arizona voters has filed suit, claiming that Rep. Paul Gosar, Rep. Andy Biggs and state Rep. Mark Finchem, a candidate for Arizona secretary of state, should be removed from the ballot because of their involvement in what became the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

The group is citing the "insurrection disqualification clause" of the 14th Amendment, which says that no member of Congress "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion."

PHOTO: Rep. Paul Gosar speaks at a news conference at the Capitol Building in Washington, Dec. 07, 2021.
Rep. Paul Gosar speaks at a news conference at the Capitol Building in Washington, Dec. 07, 2021.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images, FILE

"Gosar and Biggs were vocal supporters of the insurrection as it was happening and have since, along with Finchem, defended the behavior of its participants while falsely claiming it was carried out by 'antifa' infiltrators," reads a statement from the legal advocacy group Free Speech for People that is representing the Arizona voters who brought the lawsuit. "All three defendants have continued to perpetuate disinformation surrounding the attack on Capitol Hill and the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Trump by 'voter fraud.'"

These Arizona Republicans aren't the first to face this sort of challenge. Similar efforts are underway in North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, targeting Reps. Madison Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Sen. Ron Johnson, respectively. According to ABC News' tally, nine elected officials and candidates now face legal challenges to their reelection and ability to stay in office under the disqualification clause.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is digging in on the prospects of sending willing undocumented migrants to Washington, D.C., by plane or by bus. The move comes on the heels of the Biden administration announcing it will end the Trump-era policy of Title 42 in May.

"Listen, these migrants, once they come across the border it's not as if they want to stay down there in the Rio Grande Valley," Abbott said in a Thursday interview on Fox News, adding, "they're moving across the entire country as they move across the entire country, what better place for them to go to than the steps of the United States Capitol? They get to see the wonderful Capitol, but also get closer to the people who are making these policies that are allowing people to come across the border illegally."

PHOTO: Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends a press conference in Weslaco, Texas, April 6, 2022.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends a press conference in Weslaco, Texas, April 6, 2022.
Joel Martinez/AP

Abbott also acknowledged that "laws have to be followed in this process" so as not to engage in what constitutes kidnapping when setting out to transport the migrants.

Although House GOP Whip Steve Scalise praised Abbott's decision and added that he also likes "what [Gov.] DeSantis is talking about, to say ship [the migrants] to Delaware, President Biden's home state," some Texas Republicans are saying the governor is posturing.

"It's a gimmick," tweeted GOP state Rep. Matt Schaefer after Abbott announced the plan on Wednesday.

Democrats are also calling Abbott's bluff, including Abbott's Democratic challenger, Beto O'Rourke, who said, "You can always count on Abbott to choose stunts over solutions." Meanwhile, the White House is questioning Abbott's authority to even proceed with such an endeavor.

"Enforcement of our country's immigration laws lies with the federal government, not a state," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

4.6. That's the average error FiveThirtyEight calculated between polls taken two weeks before the election and the final result in French presidential elections from 1969 to 2017. This is notable because France's presidential election on Sunday is likely to advance to an April 24 runoff between French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. Le Pen, who has faced off against Macron before, is now just a normal polling error away from winning. Read more from FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley about how France's presidential election got so close and what we should expect to see in Sunday's election.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins on Friday with ABC's Rachel Scott and Law Professor Kate Shaw describing the historic confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson. Then, ABC's Conor Finnegan reports on Russia's suspension from the UN Human Rights Council. And, ABC's Luke Barr explains how two men have been arrested for posing as DHS agents.


  • President Joe Biden delivers remarks at 12:15 p.m. from the South Lawn to celebrate the confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Jackson and Vice President Kamala Harris also speak.
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