The White House is happy to have a fall guy.
Trump is already mapping out how he's going to blame D.C. Republicans if they lose the House in two weeks.
Trump plans on blaming Congressional Republicans, and specifically Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, if things go sideways for the GOP on Election Day. This would mark a departure from the precedent set by at least the last two presidents, who shouldered the blame for midterm losses.
"According to two people familiar with the conversations, Trump is distancing himself from a potential Republican thumping on Election Day," Politico reports.
"Look for the White House to say something like, 'Paul Ryan chose to be a lame duck speaker instead of leaving, which cost Congress the chance to do several things before November,'" one GOP aide told Politico.
Ryan seems to have the most on the line, as Republicans in the House are likely to suffer a far bigger thrashing on Election Day than Republicans in the Senate.
But Ryan also took the extraordinary step of announcing his retirement in April while simultaneously refusing to give up his speakership title. In other worlds, Republicans weren't able to pick a new party chief in the House to lead the GOP into a difficult midterm battle. At least, the GOP will be able to say that.
The irony is that Ryan may very well be quitting the House because he calculated that Democrats were going to win control in November.
Republicans realize "the House majority is already in jeopardy, and that by stepping aside, the speaker is essentially conceding the fact that Democrats will take over the House in November," Politico's Tim Alberta noted at the time of Ryan's surprise announcement.
Upcoming GOP losses could be especially tough on Trump.
"A Democratic wave would be especially awkward for a president whose brand is success, and who boasts that his record in office is unmatched by any of his modern predecessors," Politico says.
Trump might be telling allies that this midterm election cycle isn't about him because he's not even on the ballot, but lots of polling data contradicts that naive claim.
Trump is energizing plenty of Democratic voters, and he's not going to be able to pass that off on Ryan next month.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.