Santorum: Trump’s ‘personal antics’ are damaging his agenda

Former Republican senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum criticized President Donald Trump’s conduct in office, saying that it is damaging his administration’s efforts and the Republican Party overall.

“I think he could do very very well. But his personal antics have just overwhelmed the accomplishments of this administration and the efforts that he’s trying to put forward,” Santorum told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

Santorum, who is also politcal commentator for CNN, did not give specific examples of these “antics,” but pointed to the President’s propensity to launch personal attacks on Twitter and in speeches.

In a recent incident, Trump went after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Twitter after she called for him to resign. Gillibrand has dismissed the jab as “a sexist smear.”

Santorum said such public feuds have the potential to create “a fatigue factor” and “an erosion of support” among Trump’s base.

“If the president continues to try to to bring out his personal peeves with whoever happens to insult him the day before, you’re going to have an exhaustion factor,” he said.

“I don’t have any doubt that this will have electoral consequences,” he added.

Santorum noted that while a legislative victory like passing tax reform could mitigate the effects of what Axelrod describes as an “absence of decorum” from Trump, ultimately “if people are not feeling good about their president and about the country,” the Republican Party is going to suffer at the polls.

The former Pennsylvania senator pointed to the results of the Alabama Senate election and Democrat Doug Jones’ victory as evidence that voters were concerned about candidates’ character.

The outcome in Alabama “means a lot of folks stayed home on the Republican side,” Santorum said. “I think part of it was because of Moore’s personal issues. But it just goes to show you that character issues matter to a lot of people and they mattered about Roy Moore and they will matter about Donald Trump.”

On a personal level, Santorum said he found the shortcomings in Trump’s behavior “bothersome,” especially when examined as part of the President’s overall legacy.

“When I see a president who I don’t see as a role model for the lessons of life that I want to impart on my my children and the people that I care for in this world, that that’s bothersome to me,” Santorum told Axelrod. “It’s harmful to have a generation of Americans see that this is the way, you know, people of responsibility and power and influence behave.”

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