Former President Donald Trump stands on stage at rally in support of Arizona GOP candidates on July 22, 2022.

The head of the House GOP’s campaign strategy is reportedly urging candidates to avoid discussing Trump.
Tom Emmer has told candidates in key battlegrounds to focus on issues that matter to Republican voters, per CNN.
One GOP candidate told CNN that he now avoids all mention of Trump’s name on the campaign trail.

The head of the House GOP’s campaign strategy for the 2022 midterms has been advising Republican candidates in key races to focus on policy issues, not former President Donald Trump, according to CNN.

Citing three Republican sources familiar with internal conversations, CNN said that Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota is encouraging vulnerable candidates to prioritize issues important to GOP voters.

A spokesperson for Emmer, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told CNN that candidates are advised to talk about inflation, crime, and the Mexico border. According to the guidance, Trump’s name should be avoided because he’s not on the ballot for 2022, CNN reported.

Insider contacted Emmer for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska agreed with the guidance. “Tom Emmer and I think Kevin (McCarthy) and Steve (Scalise) are all saying we should be focusing on the issues — and they’re right,” he said, according to CNN. 

“Our focus should be on 2022. If it’s 2024, it hurts us,” Bacon continued, per the media outlet. “We need to be focused on winning this November, and I think anything that takes your eyes off that – it could cost us a couple of victories.”

It appears that candidates are taking note. Multiple Republicans in battleground districts told CNN they avoid discussing Trump on the campaign trail. One candidate said they only discuss the former president when directly asked about him.

Another said he avoids all mention of Trump’s name. “I don’t say his name, ever. I just avoid saying his name generally,” the candidate said, per CNN. “I talk about the policies of his that I like.”

Insider’s Kimberly Leonard reported in July that GOP strategists are nervous that Trump will announce a 2024 bid before the midterms in November. The Capitol Hill Republicans worry that an announcement could negatively impact the GOP’s chances, the report said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy lobbied Trump not to announce the launch of his campaign, warning that it could suck up the political oxygen in the room, said Insider’s Grace Panetta.

Trump is now inclined to launch his candidacy after the November election, an anonymous source told NBC News. Still, he is buoyed by the fundraising boost and support from GOP politicians following the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

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