The Washington Post revealed on Wednesday how the campaign arm of Senate Republicans is preparing to handle the phenomenon of real-estate mogul Donald Trump.
In a seven-page memo, the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s executive director, Ward Baker, presented advice for how his party’s Senate candidates would react to Trump as the GOP presidential nominee.
Much of the advice was sharply critical of Trump, whom it called a “misguided missile … subject to farcical fits.”
“You’re running for the US Senate so focus on that,” Ward wrote. “Don’t get drawn into every Trump statement and every Trump dust-up. Keep the focus on your own campaign and the voters back home.”
The memo suggested candidates pick and choose which Trump controversies to comment on:
Show your Independence. As we know, Trump is subject to farcical fits. You can still obey the ‘run your own campaign’ edict, while still taking Trump to task on outrageous statements where the media won’t let you off the hook. Choose opportunities to take the moral high ground while exerting your independence.
It also highlighted women as a particular problem for Republican Senate hopefuls:
Trump and Women. Houston, we have a problem: Donald Trump has said some wacky things about women. Candidates shouldn’t go near this ground other than to say that your wife or daughter is offended by what Trump said. We do not want to reengage the “war on women” fight so isolate Trump on this issue by offering a quick condemnation of it.
Other parts of the memo praised Trump’s style and advised candidates to adopt some aspects of it, including shedding political correctness, vowing to fundamentally shake up Washington, and embracing populist notes on issues like China and trade.
“Trump is saying that the Emperor has no clothes and he challenges our politically correct times,” Ward wrote. “Our candidates shouldn’t miss that point. Don’t insult key voter cohorts by ignoring that America has significant problems and that Trump is offering some basic solutions. Understand the populist points Trump makes and ride that wave.”
The Post’s Robert Costa and Philip Rucker reported that two high-ranking Republican officials confirmed the authenticity of the memo. The NRSC further told the newspaper that it has similar memos about the other potential Republican presidential nominees.
“It would be malpractice for the Senatorial committee not to prepare our candidates for every possible Republican and Democrat nominee and election scenario,” an NRSC spokeswoman told The Post.
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