Clip: Trump's influence on display in key Republican primary races

May. 06, 2022 AT 5:21 p.m. EDT

Former President's Trump's impact on the Republican Party was highlighted this week as the primary election season began in Ohio and Indiana, where the majority of the candidates he supported scored victories in key races. Chief among the winners was Senate candidate JD Vance, an author and venture capitalist, who was once a Trump critic before turning into a vocal supporter.

Get Washington Week in your inbox

TRANSCRIPT

Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Alcindor : As Julia is talking about the midterms, this week, we saw former President Trump`s grip on the GOP was in full display in Ohio and Indiana. Most candidates, he endorsed won key primary races, chief among them J.D. Vance, of course, was an author and venture capitalist.

What I`m really interested in is the fact that President Trump, he`s not taking this big victory lap. He`s sort of saying I`m going to wait and see what happens.

What does that say about how conservatives are approaching this as the midterms are approaching?

Gerstein : Well, there is this nervousness all of a sudden on the part of Republicans. We cite, you know, both of you talking about Trump seeming to be a bit nervous about which races he should take credit for as we go to the general election. You have to wonder if political advisors are telling him or telling the candidates that in the general election he might be a liability. We are seeing this with Republicans in Washington over this potential revocation of the Roe v. Wade precedent.

It was really fascinating that Republican lawmakers only wanted to talk about the leak in "Politico" and whether it was illegal and that it should be investigated, and they didn`t seem to want to talk about this historic victory that the conservative legal movement seems to be on the verge of, you know, turning over a 50-year-old precedent.

And you have to wonder, are they concerned that may be the poll numbers don`t look back good for them?

Alcindor : We have a couple of minutes left, but I want to go to you really quickly, 30 seconds. Your reaction, especially with great reporting in this book?

Martin : Well, I wanted to link Roe v. Wade and the results of the Ohio primary. There`s a reason, Yamiche, we call the book "This Will Not Pass". I think there was this expectation among a lot of Americans, certainly on the left or center left, that, hey, after Trump is gone, everything is going to be okay and that`s yesterday`s news.

And I think this potential opinion from the court and Trump being able to engineer the Ohio Senate primary shows that this will not pass, that Trumpism and the larger forces of tribalism and polarization that are shaping our politics today are ongoing, the story has not ended. And that`s part of the reason we wrote this book, was to sort of capture the fact that this didn`t end on election day when Biden won.

This is not something but the sort of yesterday`s news. It is now and it`s tomorrow. And it`s the biggest story of our time.

Alcindor : And, Abby, I wanted to turn to another subject. There was history made this week apart from the big scoop of the Supreme Court, and that is the that the White House announced that Karine Jean-Pierre, she`s going to be the first Black woman and first openly gay woman to be the White House press secretary. Politics aside, what do you make of this moment and her at the podium.

Phillip : Yeah. This is a year of a lot of significant firsts for Black women in particular, the Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson who will be seated this year. And this is yet another moment. I mean, the spokesperson for the government of the United States is a Black gay woman. And it`s just another step forward in that element of progress, which is about just having these major roles in government, in politics, in law, being more representative of the whole country.

And so, the Biden administration I think, President Biden trying to make those significant moves, a Black vice president, Black woman vice president, Supreme Court justice and now press secretary, it`s significant, meaningful and perhaps a nod to who he knows is a force behind him sitting in the White House in the first place, which is Black women, who, you know, as you know, Yamiche, and I know you know, J. Mart, really are the fuel behind a lot of the Democratic machine, especially in the South but all across the country.

Martin : For Joe Biden especially. That`s for sure.

Phillip : And for Joe Biden, that`s true.

Alcindor : For Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Well, there was a lot of talk about and it`s so -- I`m so grateful that all of you were here at this table. We`re going to be condemning to talk about the politics of abortion and all of the things that are going on in the midterms.

Thank you so much to Julia, Josh, Jonathan and Abby for joining us and for sharing your reporting.

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

Support our journalism

MORE INFO
Washington Week Logo

© 1996 - 2024 WETA. All Rights Reserved.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization

Support our journalism

WASHINGTON WEEK

Contact: Kathy Connolly,

Vice President Major and Planned Giving

kconnolly@weta.org or 703-998-2064