Republican pollster Frank Luntz on Tuesday said that although President Donald Trump made a “very smart decision” when he signed the latest COVID-19 economic relief bill, the president has risked the GOP’s Senate majority by demanding $2,000 stimulus checks at the last second.
“The president made a very smart decision by agreeing to sign [the] legislation,” Luntz said on Squawk Box. “He made a very bad decision by opening up the $2,000 personal checks because it’s going to cause one hell of a nightmare for those two Republican senators to vote against Donald Trump or vote against conservatives in their state.”
The question forces Republicans to consider whether to add more to the national debt or deny Americans a financial boost in the face of ongoing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Both Loeffler and Perdue have voiced their support for $2,000 checks.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked a vote to authorize the larger payments, even though the House of Representatives passed it on Monday.
Control of the upper congressional chamber lies in the hands of voters in Georgia, whose two incumbent Republican Senators – Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue – will square off against Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff – respectively – in a runoff election on the 5th of January.
Polls show that both races are locked in virtual dead heats, with some surveys giving Ossoff and Warnock the edge.
Trump, Luntz continued, could energize voters among his base.
“Donald Trump is needed in Georgia to ensure that those two [seats] stay Republican,” said Luntz.
“To get a high turnout there can counterbalance what’s happening in Atlanta and the suburbs of Atlanta,” Luntz said of the burgeoning metropolis. “I’ve got to give them credit for making the right geographic choice, but the fact [is] that the president has only gone down [to campaign in Georgia] twice.”
Trump zipping down to Florida to golf instead of working to help Republicans, Luntz opined, may hurt the GOP’s chances of maintaining its slim Senate majority.
“Frankly, he’s playing golf in Florida. He ought to get on his helicopter, get on Air Force One, fly over to Georgia even unannounced because the president still has an impact,” Luntz said. “He still can turn out voters that would not vote for anybody else, and they’re going to need him.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.