Despite recent tweets that the GOP will fare well in the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump appears to still be stewing over the party's most recent loss — the Alabama special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.
According to the Associated Press: “Recently, Trump bemoaned the Republicans’ loss in a special election in Alabama and in part blamed Sessions, whose departure from the Senate to head to Justice necessitated the election.”
But it was Trump who chose Sessions to head the Justice Department, calling him one of his most trusted campaign advisers and praising him for having a “world-class legal mind.”
“Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him,” Trump said in November 2016.
And it was an easy presumption back then that whoever was chosen by the Republican Party would easily win election to replace Sessions. But as we all know, it didn't turn out that way: see Roy Moore. And next month, Doug Jones will become the first Democrat sworn in as senator from Alabama since 1993, whittling the Republican hold on the Senate to 51-to-49, and threatening both the GOP and Trump's agenda going into the crucial midterm elections.
So it is not surprising that Trump is trying to lay the blame of the loss in the Alabama election at someone else's feet: see former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
And this, of course, isn't the first time the president has reportedly expressed regret over appointing Sessions as attorney general. It has been widely reported that Trump was especially peeved that Sessions removed himself from being involved in any investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including possible ties to the Trump campaign.
So, adding Sessions to the list of fall guys for the Alabama defeat. But, again, it was Trump's choice of Sessions for his Cabinet that started the ball rolling.
Years before entering the White House, Trump used his social media to challenge business leaders to take responsibility for their poor decisions and actions.
And he often criticized President Barack Obama for what he considered his predecessor's failure to take responsibility for his actions and decisions.
But when you talk to most voters across the country, their low approval of Trump is tied to the commander in chief's own actions, words and policies. And when one reflects on the November 2017 elections, it appears that voters punished Republican politicians not primarily for their own platforms, but for their affiliation with Trump.
After the GOP's loss in Alabama, Republican National Committee officials along with Republican lawmakers warned Trump that the GOP could suffer sizable failures in the 2018 midterms if things don't change in Washington. And for many voters, the place in need of the most significant changes are in the Oval Office. But as of now, it does not seem that Trump is moving in the direction of taking responsibility for how voters are viewing Trump-backed candidates.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Doug Jones would be the first Democratic senator from Alabama since 1993. Howell Heflin was the last Democrat to serve as senator from Alabama. He left office in 1997.