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Republicans split on Trump’s effect on lackluster midterms as control of Congress hangs in balance

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FIRST ON FOX: Republicans are split on former President Trump’s effect on the lackluster 2022 midterm elections as control of Congress hangs in the balance and has not been projected yet.

For months, Tuesday’s midterm elections were predicted to be a red wave that would see Republicans take the House by wide margins and potentially capture the Senate.

Two days after the election, Republicans are still projected to take control of the lower chamber — albeit by a much smaller margin than predicted — and could potentially control the upper chamber, should Nevada and Georgia go red.


Republicans are split on how former U.S. President Donald Trump affected the 2022 midterm elections.

Republicans are split on how former U.S. President Donald Trump affected the 2022 midterm elections.
(Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Trump undoubtedly had an effect on the midterm elections with countless endorsements and appearances in support of the candidates he threw his red hat behind.

However, Republicans are split on how Trump affected the midterm elections.

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was once a Democrat before switching to the GOP, told Fox News Digital he believes the former president had a positive impact on the midterm elections.

“Trump helped out candidates in a lot of districts across the country. An overwhelming majority of his endorsements won,” Van Drew said. “Republicans are taking the majority, which was the goal in order for us to get America back on track.”

“Two years ago when Trump was in office, our country was much better off,” he continued. “We were #1 in everything, from energy to education, so I would be happy to have Trump return to office so we could return to the America we once were.”

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told Fox News Digital he believes the former president had a positive impact on the midterm elections.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told Fox News Digital he believes the former president had a positive impact on the midterm elections.

Conversely, another House GOP lawmaker said that he believes Trump impacted the election and that Americans are trying to “get away from the drama” and back to business addressing the country’s “real needs.”

The anonymous GOP congressman also predicted Trump will face “other worthy candidates” for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“As one would expect, Trump certainly played a factor in the outcome of the midterm elections,” the Republican lawmaker said.

“As for 2024, there will be other worthy candidates who will put their names forward who may approach the conservative movement differently,” he continued.


“Trump’s tenure, whether deserved or not, has been marked by drama and controversy,” the congressman added. “I think it is the sentiment now of a large number of Americans, both Republican and Democrat, to get away from the drama and get back to the business of the country and it’s real needs: fighting inflation, combating crime, and getting control of the southern border.”

Republican staffers also weighed in on Trump’s effects on the midterms, with a Georgia GOP campaign staffer saying the former president should pack it up and let Florida Governor Ron DeSantis take the reins to “lead the red wave.”

“In order to truly make America great, it’s time for Trump to hang up his red hat and let DeSantis lead the red wave Trump failed to,” the staffer said.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Florence, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A senior House GOP staffer told Fox News Digital the “truly instructive fact in contrast to how 45’s candidates performed was how [Republican Georgia Governor Brian] Kemp and DeSantis performed in contrast.”

“These are both governors that took some heat from the former president, but what really mattered in the end was the fact that they led with a freedom agenda and provided a constructive vision that actually worked for the people they served,” the senior House GOP staffer said.

“Trump was successful when his vision was about making America great again, not himself as a 2024 candidate,” the staffer continued. “At the end of the day, this business has to be about delivering results to the American people who want people to fight for them.”

So far, the majority of the former president’s endorsed candidates have won their races.

“There is a fake news narrative that I was furious — it is just the opposite,” Trump told Fox News Digital, responding to reports that suggested he was less than pleased with the election results for his endorsed candidates. “The people I endorsed did very well. I was batting 98.6% in the primaries, and 216 to 19 in the general election — that is amazing.”

He added: “All these guys that are winning are my people.”

Trump touted the wins of Sen. Chuck Grassley in Iowa, Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida, Eric Schmitt in Missouri, JD Vance in Ohio, Ted Budd in North Carolina, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and others.

Democrats also had a hand in elevating several of the Trump-backed candidates by boosting them in their primary elections in the belief that the candidates would be easier to beat.

Overall, though, Republicans did not perform as well as predicted, spurring intra-party criticism, and control of Congress has not been projected yet.

Several key races have yet to be decided, but Republicans are expected to still take control of the House.

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of the early winners of the night in Tuesday's midterm election. 

Republican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been tipped as a possible 2024 presidential candidate, was projected as one of the early winners of the night in Tuesday’s midterm election. 
(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Senate is another question, with three races still in the air to decide control of the upper chamber: Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada.

A slog is expected for the Georgia Senate contest as the election officially moved into a runoff after neither candidate was able to get 50 percent of the vote.

The 45th president has teased for months that he will be making another run for the White House and is predicted to do so next week.

However, the school of thought that most Republicans will move out of the way in the wake of Trump’s expected announcement may not be as viable anymore.

Trump’s impact on the midterms may also spur prominent Republicans who are against running in light of the former president’s announcement to change their plans.

Republican Senator-elect J.D. Vance of Ohio was endorsed by former President Trump. He defeated Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat in a highly-watched contest.

Republican Senator-elect J.D. Vance of Ohio was endorsed by former President Trump. He defeated Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat in a highly-watched contest.
(AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

DeSantis’ name has been floated since Biden took office as a potential GOP nominee to take back the White House in 2024, especially after the sweeping Florida elections that serve as a bright spot for Republicans in an otherwise underwhelming midterm cycle.

If DeSantis decides to run for the White House in spite of his former political pedagogue’s candidacy, one can reasonably expect other GOP candidates will follow suit and bring a robust primary election ahead of 2024.


Still, most Republicans may move out of the way in the wake of Trump’s expected announcement, but there will likely be GOP challengers to the former president regardless in the primary.

Meanwhile, President Biden said he will make his decision on running for re-election “early next year.”

Fox News Digital’s Brooke Singman contributed reporting.


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RFK Jr. says it’s ‘hypocritical’ to blame Canada for wildfires, ‘foolish’ to attribute problem to single cause

Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said it’s “hypocritical” to blame Canada for the wildfire smoke coating parts of the East Coast and prompting air-quality concerns, arguing that the same problem is afflicting U.S. forests.

Fox News Digital reached out to Kennedy’s campaign seeking a statement from the candidate on the current air-quality levels in parts of the U.S. and whether he believes Canada should pay some kind of penalty for the smoke coming across America’s northern border.

“It would be hypocritical to blame Canada for a problem that afflicts U.S. forests as well,” Kennedy said in exclusive comments to Fox News Digital. “Besides, attributing wildfires to a single cause would be foolish. Decades of fire suppression, the loss of apex predators and keystone species, ecological disruption due to pesticides, changing climate, soil loss leading to intensified flood-drought cycles and depletion of aquifers all may contribute to the problem.”

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speaks onstage at Food & Bounty at Sunset Gower Studios on Jan. 13, 2019, in Hollywood, Calif. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)


Smoke from ongoing wildfires in Canada has traveled as far as South Carolina, casting a thick haze that caused air quality in New York City and Washington, D.C., to drop to record lows. A number of professional sports teams have even postponed games over air-quality concerns. 

Many environmental activists and liberal politicians, such as President Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have blamed climate change for the problem. 

“Between NYC in wildfire smoke and this in PR, it bears repeating how unprepared we are for the climate crisis,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “We must adapt our food systems, energy grids, infrastructure, healthcare, etc ASAP to prepare for what’s to come and catch up to what is already here.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., echoed that sentiment on social media.

British Columbia wildfire aerial view

Smoke billows upwards from a planned ignition by firefighters tackling the Donnie Creek Complex wildfire south of Fort Nelson, British Columbia, on June 3.  (.C. Wildfire Service/Reuters)


“These Canadian wildfires are truly unprecedented, and climate change continues to make these disasters worse,” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “We passed the Inflation Reduction Act to fight climate change, and we must do more to speed our transition to cleaner energy and reduce carbon in the atmosphere.”

However, many Republicans counter that these fires are the product of poor forest management, arguing that forests need to be managed through actions such as logging, controlled burns and forest thinning in order to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

“To be candid, if you look at these issues throughout the United States and Canada, over time, it’s possible that climate is changing,” former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told Fox News. “At the same time, you can say that forest management practices in many places have contributed greatly to having a much higher fuel load, and fuel loads are a large driver of catastrophic wildfire.”

People take pictures of the haze

People take photos of the sun as smoke from the wildfires in Canada cause hazy conditions in New York City on June 7, 2023. Smoke from Canada’s wildfires has engulfed the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., raising concerns over the harms of persistent poor air quality.  (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)


“If you don’t use methodologies to clear some of that excess product out, that just is sitting there, literally, as a tinderbox box for a match,” he added. “In this case, what we’re seeing from Canada . . . is fires that are largely caused by lightning, strikes with an element of a very, very high fuel load.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., lambasted politicians who are “complaining” about the Canadian wildfire smoke on Capitol Hill but “won’t allow” forest management in Western states.

“I have zero empathy for D.C. politicians complaining about the smoke,” Zinke tweeted. “If you won’t allow us to responsibly manage forests, you should have to deal with the consequences just like we do in the West.” 


The congressman also posted a video of him standing in front of the Washington Monument that was masked by smoke.

“Whether you’re a climate change activist or denier, it doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility to manage our forests,” said Zinke. “And if you don’t manage our forests, this is what happens. So welcome to Montana, Washington, D.C.”

As for Kennedy, the latest national polling indicates that he’s grabbing double-digit support as he challenges President Biden in the Democratic primary.

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Trump to make first public speech since federal indictment over classified docs

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday afternoon will make his first public appearance since his federal indictment over his handling of classified documents when he addresses the state Republican conventions in Georgia and North Carolina as part of his 2024 presidential bid.

The 2024 front-runner was indicted Friday on 37 federal counts, including willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and false statements.

The indictment accuses Trump of failing to comply with demands to return classified documents — including plans for a retaliatory attack on an unnamed foreign power — he had gathered in Mar-a-Lago. Other documents include defense and weapon capabilities of the U.S. and details of the U.S. nuclear program.


Former US President Donald Trump arrives to meet with local Republican leaders at the Machine Shed restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa, US, on Thursday, June 1, 2023.  (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods,” the indictment says.

It also accuses him of storing the documents in a bathroom and other places at the residence, and of even bragging and showing off the documents to visitors. In one instance he is said to have told individuals of a document “as president I could have declassified it,” and, “Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”

He is also said to have directed an aide to move boxes of documents demanded by a grand jury subpoena while claiming to have fully cooperated. The FBI opened a criminal investigation into the matter in March 2022.

Trump has dismissed the indictment as “election interference” and a witch hunt.

“This is the most corrupt administration in history — there has never been an administration so corrupt, and they’re just starting to find it right now,” Trump told Fox News Digital this week. “They are trying to deflect all of their dishonesty by bringing this ridiculous boxes hoax case.”

He added: “They’re not going to get away with it.”


Trump is likely to express similar sentiments on Saturday, when he will speak before overwhelmingly supportive crowds who will largely share his belief that the charges are politically motivated.


The indictment adds additional legal turmoil to Trump’s bid for re-election, coming after he was indicted in New York in an alleged hush money scheme earlier this year. He will make his first federal court appearance on Tuesday.

Other Republicans on the campaign trail, including those who have been extremely critical of the former president, have largely declined to attack him over the indictment so far, and have shared the sentiment that the prosecution is politically motivated.


“The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said as news of the indictment emerged.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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Native American tribe plans protests, considers suing Biden admin over oil-leasing crackdown

EXCLUSIVE: The president of the Navajo Nation told Fox News Digital that he has ordered the tribe’s attorney general to weigh legal action following the Biden administration’s oil-leasing ban impacting Navajo citizens.

Buu Nygren, the president of the Navajo Nation, a federally recognized tribe in the U.S. southwest, said that the Navajo Justice Department was considering pursuing litigation after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s recent order, and he plans to protest her upcoming visit to the reservation on Sunday. Last week, Haaland banned oil, gas and mineral leasing within 10 miles of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico for 20 years, an action strongly opposed by nearby Navajo communities.

“To totally disregard those local communities — it’s unfair,” Nygren told Fox News Digital in an interview Saturday. “There’s no need to celebrate putting people into poverty, to celebrate undermining the Navajo Nation’s sovereignty, undermining everything that comes into working with tribes, in this case, Navajo Nation.”

“I tasked the attorney general to look into all our options, because I want to be doing justice for the local community,” he continued. “As president, I’ve already told my attorney general to look into all the options. So, we’re going to be moving forward with that as well.”


Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren criticized Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for moving forward with a oil leasing ban on Navajo lands.

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren criticized Interior Secretary Deb Haaland for moving forward with an oil-leasing ban on Navajo lands. (Navajo Nation | Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Nygren and other Navajo leaders, in addition to locals, have argued that the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) action banning leasing will harm low-income Navajo citizens who depend on revenue from leasing their allotments within ten miles of Chaco Canyon mainly to fossil fuel companies

The allotments date back to the 1900s, when the federal government awarded them to Navajo citizens as a consolation when the tribe’s territory was downsized.

“Since I’ve entered the legislative body for my Navajo people, I’ve listened to a lot of constituents out in that area and, you know, it’s just emotional distress, psychologically as well, that they’ve talked about this — it really disturbs me to know how much more of a hardship that these folks are going to be experiencing out there,” Brenda Jesus, who chairs the Navajo Nation Council’s Resources & Development Committee, told Fox News Digital earlier this week.


Jesus led a delegation of Navajo tribal leaders who met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, making their case against the DOI’s ban. Rep. Harriet Hageman, R-Wyo., who chairs a House panel on Indian affairs, said the action represented a “taking” of tribal lands and vowed congressional action following her meeting with the delegation.

Overall, there are currently 53 Indian allotments located in the 10-mile buffer zone around Chaco Canyon, generating $6.2 million per year in royalties for an estimated 5,462 allottees, according to Navajo Nation data. In addition, there are 418 unleased allotments in the zone that are associated with 16,615 allottees. 

According to the Western Energy Alliance, an industry group that represents oil and gas producers in the area, Navajo members will lose an estimated $194 million as a result of Haaland’s actions.

Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland

“Today marks an important step in fulfilling President Biden’s commitments to Indian Country by protecting Chaco Canyon, a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors have called this place home since time immemorial,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said on June 2. (Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“You can’t pound your chest on going after people in poverty,” Nygren told Fox News Digital. “I don’t know who would want to celebrate that. Personally, I think that’s, I don’t know, you got to not have a heart if you’re going to put people that are already impoverished in third-world-country conditions and barely have enough to pay for gas, food, laundry, the daily necessities — to put them into an even tougher situation.”

“To me, I don’t know how anybody could sleep with that thought,” he said. “Come to Navajo. It’s tough. Everybody’s struggling, everybody’s trying to make a dollar, literally.”


Haaland is expected to visit Chaco Canyon on Sunday to celebrate the action. Nygren said that Navajo citizens are planning to peacefully protest the event and that he has even faced calls to block the interior secretary’s access to Navajo roads.

“You shouldn’t celebrate beating up people in poverty,” Nygren said.

New Mexico

An archeological site is photographed at the Chaco Culture National Historical Park on Aug. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio, File)

Nygren also noted that the Biden administration failed to offer any economic proposal to account for the income losses the Chaco land withdrawal would create for Navajo allottees. 

In addition, Nygren criticized Haaland for not properly consulting the Navajo Nation and the communities near Chaco Canyon that would be most impacted by the action. The tribe previously endorsed a five-mile buffer zone to protect the site while ensuring future drilling on oil-rich allotments, but has said that Haaland never considered the compromise.


“For her to go all over the country and the world to talk about tribal sovereignty and tribal communities and this and that. But then when it comes down to it, to put tribal sovereignty into question. Actions speak louder than words, in my opinion,” he said. 

While DOI stated Friday that the action won’t impact existing leases or production on them, opponents of the ten-mile buffer zone said it would indirectly make Indian-owned allotments worthless. Because drilling on the Navajo allotments requires horizontal crossings that pass through federal land impacted by the ban, the action effectively ends all drilling in the area, they argued.

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