Trump is clashing with convicted felon Michael Grimm over a Republican House seat in New York. Meanwhile, Democrats are positioning themselves to flip the seat in their favor.
Trump is in an open public feud with convicted felon Michael Grimm, a Republican candidate for a vulnerable congressional seat in Staten Island, New York.
Trump and the Republican Party are desperately trying to retain seats before the 2018 midterms. But this public spat could help deliver New York's 11th Congressional District to Democrats.
Trump is backing the incumbent Dan Donovan in the Republican primary. "There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan," he tweeted.
He also claimed Donovan voted for the unpopular Republican tax scam bill — but he didn't. In fact, Donovan admitted that the bill would be a "tax increase" for many of his constituents.
And Trump's public support of Donovan angered his primary opponent, former Rep. Michael Grimm.
"If I was legitimately advising the president, which I’m not, but if I was, I would say, 'Stay out of a race like this because I don’t see how it would benefit him to get into such a contentious race,'" Grimm told Fox News.
He added, "By going into the race, he puts himself in a situation where he’s going to lose."
Yet Republicans are afraid that if Grimm wins the primary they could lose the race.
That's likely because Grimm is a convicted felon.
In 2014, he was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty. Prosecutors said he underreported his wages and revenue to the federal government by filing false tax returns.
The judge presiding over his case told him, "Your moral compass, Mr. Grimm, needs some reorientation."
That conviction came after Grimm was caught on tape threatening a reporter with physical harm. When NY1 reporter Michael Scotto asked Grimm about a campaign finance investigation, Grimm lost it. He said he would "break [Scotto] in half," and threatened to throw him over a balcony of the U.S. Capitol building.
Having a toxic candidate like Grimm on the ballot would likely help Democrats. The party has designated NY-11 as a seat that could return to Democratic control. Trump won it in 2016, but it went to Democrats in the previous six presidential elections.
Trump has already helped the GOP lose seats that were less competitive than NY-11. In Pennsylvania, Democrat Conor Lamb won in the heart of Trump country, even after Trump went all-in for his opponent.
In New York, Republicans are in disarray. Trump is once again in the center of the three-ring circus. Meanwhile, the surging Democrats are primed to take another seat away.