Donald Trump

Analyzing the Republican Strategy of Discrediting Michael Cohen Instead of Defending President Trump

Republican support of President Donald Trump these days ranges from those who love everything about him to those who are appalled by him, but stay with him because they are afraid of what they see as the alternative: Democratic socialism.

What they all agree on is that Republican strategy going forward needs to change.

Those who watched the House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday heard a recurring theme among Republicans as they sought to discredit Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, as nothing but a convicted liar.

Republican political consultant Rob Gray says Republicans were in a tough spot.

"I didn't think they had much of a strategy for the hearing," he said.

Gray says they were unwilling to defend Trump against some of Cohen's explosive allegations, but that they wanted to protect him against a rehash of negative stories.

"Stormy Daniels, campaign-finance violations, people already believe that," Gray said. "It's already come out. So Cohen didn't provide much that was new, he just confirmed negatives that people already believe about Trump."

Janet Fogarty of the Republican National Committee says Republicans need to work on their strategy.

"They should have a more in-line, more unified message," she said.

But she is still strongly behind Trump because she likes what he's doing for the country on tax reform, China trade relations, jobs and the economy.

"He's rough around the edges. Maybe he's not the most moral person. But if he does the job for the country, that's what matters to me," she said.

"As we get closer to 2020, the Republicans are going to have to take a stand and going to have to step away from Donald Trump and not protect him," said former Massachusetts GOP Chair Gene Hartigan. "Because it's either that, or they're going to lose their seats."

Hartigan says it's not the Republican base Trump needs to worry about.

"It's the independent voters. Those are the people who are going to give up on him in the next election," he said.

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