As the midterm results rolled in Tuesday night, and the "red wave" long hoped for by Republicans had not materialized, many pundits and journalists across the spectrum pointed their fingers at former President Trump.

As several Trump-backed candidates in major races lost or lagged behind other Republicans in their states, a consensus appeared to emerge that Trump had a bad night, although it was still up in the air whether Republicans would re-capture the House and Senate.

Former Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe said on MSNBC, "I think you have to say Donald Trump has now presided over two disastrous midterm elections." In his only one as president in 2018, Trump's party lost control of the House, although it gained U.S. Senate seats thanks in part to a favorable map. In 2022, Republicans appeared poised to make huge gains and seize control of both chambers of Congress, but in the early hours of Wednesday morning, it still remained unclear if they would even take control of the House, a seemingly unthinkable proposition last week. 

"Given the history of presidents in power, Democrats controlling all of Washington, inflation, this should’ve been a much stronger night for Republicans," Plouffe said. "A bunch of reasons for that. But at the top of them is Donald Trump. He’s deeply unpopular, he supported a bunch of horrible Senate candidates who may end up coughing up the football here."


Donald Trump

Former President Trump pauses while speaking at a rally at the Minden Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nevada, on Oct. 8, 2022.  (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, Pool, File)

MSNBC's Chris Hayes said Republicans ascribed to Trump a "totemic power he does not have" and he had "screwed" his own party.

"He is unpopular. He is unpopular," Hayes said. "He screwed you today. Screwed you. It's not the full story… but it is part of the story, and the sooner you dump him, the better it is for the Republican Party and American democracy, full stop."

ABC's Jonathan Karl said it was still unclear who would control the chambers of Congress for the next two years, but declared Trump the goat.

"What I can tell you is the biggest loser tonight is Donald Trump," Karl said.

On CNN, conservative commentator Scott Jennings offered a rather blunt analysis of the night, juxtaposing the performance of Trump-backed candidates across the country with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R., a potential 2024 contender who romped to a landslide re-election on Tuesday. 

"There's a potential narrative out of this night that if you're a discerning Republican voter trying to figure out the future, direction of this party, we once again learn that Trump is not a national winner for the Republicans," the GOP pundit told the panel. "But DeSantis may be the next evolution of someone who can marry what you like about Trump but also recover some people that went away from the party during Trump."

Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Trump


In Georgia, Herschel Walker looked like he would not outright defeat Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., on Tuesday, despite Gov. Brian Kemp, R., already easily beating Democrat Stacey Abrams in his re-election bid. Trump enthusiastically backed Walker while he famously feuded with Kemp over his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

Trump-supported Doug Mastriano was dispatched handily by Pennsylvania Democrat Josh Shapiro in the state's governor's race, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, another Trump candidate, lost to Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania's closely watched Senate race.

Republicans also lost the New Hampshire Senate race with Don Bolduc unable to oust Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and prominent Trump supporters in the House, like Rep. Mayra Flores, R-Texas, were defeated on Tuesday.

In one bright spot for Trump, Republican JD Vance defeated Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, in Ohio's Senate race. Trump supporters touted the party's wins in Florida and Ohio, formerly swing states Trump won in both 2016 and 2020, as proof he helped make them into red states.


However, Jennings said DeSantis should tout his 20-point victory as a "way to a national majority."

"Boy, if I were Ron DeSantis, or someone who wanted to help her understand this, that is the message I would be on tomorrow, which is ‘My way is the way to a national majority. His way is the way to a national minority,'" Jennings said.

Former President Trump reacts to a supporter during a rally, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Sioux City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

MSNBC's Jen Psaki, formerly of the Biden White House, said Republicans "have a [T]rump problem," while The Atlantic's Tim Alberta said DeSantis should not let Trump "bluff him out of running for president" and should be considered a favorite to win the nomination in 2024. 

Various conservative voices also cast blame on Trump as the results came in and fumed over the poor showing for Republicans.


Trump himself commented about tonight's results, declaring it a "great evening" and claimed the news media was trying to downplay it. 

"174 wins and 9 losses, A GREAT EVENING, and the Fake News Media, together with their partner in crime, the Democrats, are doing everything possible to play it down. Amazing job by some really fantastic candidates!" Trump posted on his social media site Truth Social.