Trump, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, is again running in the Republican presidential primary, setting up a potential rematch with President Joe Biden, who narrowly beat him in 2020. However, unlike the 2020 race, several high-profile challengers to Trump have emerged, each making the case that they would be a stronger candidate in the general election.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce his campaign in the coming weeks and is viewed as the top GOP challenger to Trump, told donors he is the only Republican who can beat Biden, according to a May 18 report from The New York Times.
Cassidy responded to DeSantis’s remarks about Trump’s electability during an appearance on CNN and said the governor’s remarks are an attempt to “diss others” running for the GOP nomination. However, Cassidy agreed that Trump would lose the general election to Biden.
He pointed to the 2022 midterm elections to explain why he believes Trump would not be able to win in 2024.
The Republican Party endured underwhelming results during the midterm, despite initial hopes that Biden’s unpopularity would fuel a “red wave,” allowing the GOP to easily take back control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Instead, Republicans only narrowly won the House and lost ground in the Senate. Some members of the GOP blamed these losses on Trump endorsing extremist candidates in swing states.
Cassidy told CNN that Trump-endorsed candidates’ losses in key swing states including Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania indicates he is also poised to lose those states in 2024.
“I think the President’s high-profile endorsement of those candidates actually hurt those candidates at least in the general election,” Cassidy said. “So if past is prologue, that means President Trump is going to have a hard time in those swing states, which means he cannot win a general election.”
Cassidy was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump at his second impeachment trial following the January 6, 2021, riot at the United Sates Capitol, in which a mob of Trump supporters violently protested the 2020 presidential election results and tried to force Congress to block Biden’s Electoral College certification.
Newsweek reached out to the Trump campaign for comment via email.
What Polls Say About Trump’s Chance of Winning 2024 Election
Despite Cassidy’s concerns about Trump’s electability, polls show that the former president has a chance at winning the 2024 election. His lead over his Republican challengers, including DeSantis, has grown in recent months as conservatives coalesce around him—and several polls show him beating Biden, as well.
However, several state-level polls show Trump losing to Biden in key swing states that will determine who wins the 2024 race. A poll of 500 voters that was taken in April by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies showed Biden leading Trump by 43 percent to 42 percent. That same poll showed DeSantis beating Biden by 46 to 41 percent.
That poll also found Biden beating Trump by 4 points in Pennsylvania, and DeSantis beating Biden by 3 points.
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