Behind closed doors, President Trump has told GOP donors that Republicans will have a hard time holding onto their Senate majority in the election, and that he won't do all he can to help. "The Senate is very tough,” Trump said. "There are a couple senators I can't really get involved in. I just can’t do it. You lose your soul if you do. I can’t help some of them. I don’t want to help some of them." The president made the remarks in addressing a fundraiser in Nashville on Thursday, the Washington Post reports, before his final debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Tickets to the event sold for as much as $250,000. Trump also told the crowd that Republicans "are going to take back the House." Few GOP strategists or officials—and not any of the Republican House leaders—have agreed with that publicly.
As the Senate picture dims for Republicans, and Democrats outraise them, GOP contributions in some Senate races have risen. “Donors are increasingly alarmed that we might lose the Senate," says one donor. Republicans now control 53 seats, but even Mitch McConnell has said there's a 50-50 chance the party will lose its majority. Politico estimates that a dozen GOP incumbents are in at least some danger of losing, while only two Democratic incumbents are. A few Republicans are returning the favor and separating themselves slightly from Trump. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona dodged a debate question about her support of the president, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas was critical of him, and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska ripped Trump's performance and behavior. Republican strategists say Trump's poor showing in polls, as well as his divisive rhetoric, hurt their candidates. (Read more Senate race stories.)