Internal DCCC Email Suggests Democratic Candidates Talk Less About Trump

In an email accidentally sent to reporters, a staffer wondered whether highlighting Trump's impeachment would backfire on Democrats and turn out the GOP base.
ALEX EDELMAN via Getty Images

An internal email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee revealed that staff members are concerned that continuing to talk about former President Donald Trump and his impeachment could backfire on Democratic candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.

On Friday morning, the DCCC, responsible for protecting and expanding Democrats’ House majority, sent out a press release going after Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) and her “top 10 failings” in Congress. One of them was her vote not to impeach Trump for his role in igniting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

But at the bottom of the press release, the DCCC accidentally included an email exchange between staffers discussing revisions to the document.

“[D]o we think highlighting her vote not to impeach trump is helpful?” one staffer wrote. “In midterm with him out of WH, not sure how much we want to keep highlighting him and give the Trump base a reason to turnout.”

Ultimately, staffers decided to keep the impeachment line in the release.

It’s not entirely surprising that in swing districts, Democrats may not want to focus on Trump quite as much as they do in liberal districts. The internal email confirms that it’s still a topic of discussion in races like Steel’s, where former Rep. Harley Rouda (D) is running to unseat her in 2022.

There was also a debate about whether to call Steel a “QAnon Congresswoman” in the release “because she hasn’t personally expressed support for QAnon.” The staffer suggested perhaps using the terms “divisive” or “do-nothing.”

Another DCCC staffer replied that they had been using that term for months, pointing to her opposition to stripping Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) ― the most prominent QAnon congresswoman ― of her committee assignments. The staffer also noted that it was Rouda’s personal request that they use that term for Steel. It was also kept in the release.

The National Republican Congressional Committee gleefully sent out word of the leaked email to its own press list, saying it showed “Harley Rouda pressured the DCCC to intentionally spread disinformation about Michelle Steel, which they did despite knowing it wasn’t true.”

The DCCC declined to comment further.

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