President Trump has a "love it or leave it" mentality for the Republican Party.
In an interview with Politico published Friday, Trump showed a "rare admission of concern" when it came to winning back the presidency this fall and retaining a GOP Senate majority. And the key to mitigating that concern, he said, was to keep every Republican senator in line, issuing a stern warning for anyone who dares break ranks.
"If they don't embrace, they're going to lose, because, you know, I have a very hard base. I have the strongest base people have ever seen," Trump told Politico. Trump's aides, including his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, are apparently enforcing this ultimatum. Potential targets of this threat could include Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said she hasn't decided whether to support Trump in 2020, and Michigan GOP Senate candidate John James, who has told voters he disagrees with Trump on "plenty, plenty of issues."
Trump recently met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to discuss Senate Republicans' re-election strategies, and seems to want to use his popularity to encourage party loyalty in all of them. For example, when Trump was handed a document during the interview comparing his and Senate candidates primary results, he specifically noted his 98 percent vote in North Carolina. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is considered at risk of losing this fall, got 78 percent of his primary vote. He then listed some GOP senators who broke ranks with him in 2018 and ended up being voted out: Arizona's Jeff Flake and Nevada's Dean Heller, to name a few.