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Trail Mix: Donald Trump Already Wants to Go Back on CNN

Welcome to Trail Mix, a fun but nutritious snack for your election news diet. See something interesting on the trail? Email me at [email protected].

This week, we dive into the messy aftermath of Donald Trump’s CNN town hall and some shifting vibes around gun control on the trail in New Hampshire.

He came, he saw, he op-ed.

“Given the pervasive pessimism of the country broadly and widespread dissatisfaction with the idea of a Biden-versus-Trump rematch, doesn’t it make eminent sense to consider the most compelling candidate who can break that logjam: Ron DeSantis?” he wrote. “We are better than a rematch, America.”

That sentiment didn’t sit well with his former Trump pals.

“It goes without saying, he will never be back on WarRoom, ever,” Bannon declared on his show, before taking aim at Cortes calling his decision to turn on Trump motivated by “money,” or as he later put it: “Thirty Pieces of Silver.” Likewise, his old friend, former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro, declared he was in “mourning” due to Cortes leaving for the “dark side.”

The cherry on top: his daughter, former Trump 2020 staffer Kingsley Cortes, responded to the news with a photo of herself and Trump with the caption, “MAGA.” (Cortes declined to comment when reached by The Daily Beast.)

Polling station

Bannon said the quiet part out loud back in 2018.

“The Republican college-educated woman is done,” the former Trump strategist said. “They’re gone. They were going anyway at some point in time. Trump triggers them.”

Following the CNN town hall event where Trump continued attacking E. Jean Carroll—a day after a jury ordered him to pay her $5 million in damages for defamation and sexual battery—it seemed like all of the chatter about Trump pivoting to re-appeal to suburban women went out the window.

Trump not only won the vote among white women in 2020, he managed to expand his margin among them against Biden compared to Hillary Clinton, growing his lead from 47 percent to 45 percent in 2016 to 53 percent to 46 percent in 2020.

Women with a college diploma support Democrats at a much higher rate than women with only a high school degree, who are more likely to vote Republican, albeit by a smaller margin. Some 60 percent of white women with a college degree support Democrats in national polls from 2020 and 2022, while 50 percent of women without a college degree support Republicans.

In the early May Washington Post/ABC poll that had Trump narrowly leading Biden, Trump’s strongest support remains among both white men and white women without a college degree.

With far fewer college educated women up for persuasion in 2024 compared to 2016, it’s even less surprising that Trump made little to no effort at moderating his tone on the Carroll case or his party’s continued liability on abortion rights.

Campaign lit

Trump GPT

We gave ChatGPT a chance to mimic the answers Trump gave at the CNN town hall on Wednesday night—and it did a pretty good job.

The Santos question

Not for the first time, House Republicans are trying to figure out what to do with Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), following his indictment in federal court this week, Deputy Politics Editor Sam Brodey reports.

Keeping up with the Thomases

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ myriad gifts and high-dollar expenses covered by his billionaire pals look even worse when lined up with the court’s docket of cases, The Daily Beast’s Ursula Perano reports in this week’s Pay Dirt newsletter.

Trump doomsday prepping

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins prepared extensively for the range of falsehoods Trump might utter at the New Hampshire town hall, and the former president was played in mock sessions by CNN VP Mark Preston, according to Michael Grynbaum and Benjamin Mullin of The New York Times.