President Donald Trump, during yesterday’s “victory lap” remarks after his acquittal on impeachment charges, praised two Georgia Republicans in the audience– U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins. It’s significant because both pro-Trump conservatives are running in the November special election against each other to fill out retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.
Georgia Republicans, of course, are nervous about this potential clash and the help it gives a Democrat candidate to gain traction before November. The president is obviously aware of this too. That’s why reliable sources tell me that the Loeffler camp, very wisely during the impeachment trial, approached Trump people to see if some deal could be reached beneficial to both candidates. That idea has been percolating of late and that’s why it was on the president’s mind yesterday.
“I know, Kelly, that you’re going to end up liking him a lot,” the president said of his strong Judiciary Committee advocate Collins. And Trump effusively labeled Collins an “unbelievable friend.” Then he mused: “Something’s going to happen that’s going to be very good. I don’t know; I haven’t figured it out yet.”
What does it all mean? Here’s where I engage in speculation: I believe the president is thinking about an “art of the deal” whereby one of the candidates is removed by getting another highly-coveted position so they don’t clash this fall and split Republican voters and independents. (A slugfest between two powerful Republican candidates also causes needless problems for his re-election and that of GOP Sen. David Perdue who also appear on the same November ballot.)
Loeffler, being an incumbent senator, so far might be favored in any such deal. After all, Trump doesn’t want to alienate her– and GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell needs her happy for upcoming votes Trump and he need. Collins may have made a huge mistake by not meeting the president and securing his solid endorsement before he announced his candidacy. This slip-up caused the president to obviously be neutral now between the two.
Perhaps Trump would offer Collins a Cabinet position or a powerful judgeship. Or if the new senator’s attempt to market/brand herself and her message before voters doesn’t catch fire in the next couple of months, perhaps it would be Loeffler who could be offered a high government position.
Bottom line: The president doesn’t want two solid Trumpers battling one another for that Georgia Senate seat this year. “I haven’t figured it out yet,” the president said. But odds are he will.