Republican Rep.-elect Mike Lawler shocked the political world when he toppled Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) — chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and one of the most influential House Democrats — on Election Day.
Lawler explained Thursday that the roadmap for future Republican victories includes leaving former President Donald Trump in the rearview mirror.
What did Lawler say?
Speaking on "CNN This Morning," Lawler implored the Republican Party to move forward without Trump.
"I would like to see the party move forward," Lawler said. "I think any time you are focused on the future, you can't so much go to the past."
When CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins asked Lawler for a definitive answer as to whether the party should leave Trump in the past, Lawler responded, "Yeah, I think moving in a different direction as we move forward is a good thing, not a bad thing."
Moreover, Lawler said the Republican Party should focus its energy on delivering solutions for the American people — not on boosting "personalities."
Is Trump to blame for no 'red wave'?
While many factors blocked the promised red wave from coming to fruition, many Republicans believe that Trump's unpopularity, especially with moderates and independent voters, ultimately sunk Republicans.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), for instance, called out Trump on Wednesday for being a "drag" on Republican success.
"I think we're going to have to do a lot of soul searching and head scratching," Ryan told WISN-TV of Election Day results.
"I think Trump's kind of a drag on our ticket. I think Donald Trump gives us problems, politically. We lost the House, the Senate and the White House in two years when Trump was on the ballot, or in office," he explained. "I think we just have some Trump hangover. I think he's a drag on our office, on our races."
Indeed, election data suggests that Trump hurt Republican personalities that he endorsed and boosted because they either lost elections or performed much worse than proven Republican leaders.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board pointed out, in fact, that Trump's electoral record is defined by only one victory.
"Since his unlikely victory in 2016 against the widely disliked Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump has a perfect record of electoral defeat. The GOP was pounded in the 2018 midterms owing to his low approval rating. Mr. Trump himself lost in 2020. He then sabotaged Georgia’s 2021 runoffs by blaming party leaders for not somehow overturning his defeat," the editorial board explained.
"Now Mr. Trump has botched the 2022 elections," the board declared.
Despite the on-the-ground reality, Trump appears set to announce his 2024 presidential campaign next week.