As if sensing that Republicans running for reelection are attempting to distance themselves from him as his poll numbers continue to tank, President Donald Trump said in an interview with Politico that any member of the GOP that refuses to “embrace” him and his reelection would pay a heavy political price for their actions.

According to Trump, Republicans had best get in line behind him or else they’ll lose:

“If they don’t embrace, they’re going to lose, because, you know, I have a very hard base. I have the strongest base people have ever seen.

“We will, on occasion, have some senators that want to be cute. And they don’t want to embrace their president.”

There are signs, however, that part of that base may be abandoning the president, with polls showing that independent voters and senior citizens — two major blocs that helped Trump win four years ago — are now leaning heavily toward presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who has anywhere from a 10 to 14 point national lead over Trump among those likely to cast a ballot in November.

The president also sounded worried that widespread absentee voting — which may be necessitated by a surge in coronavirus cases near  Election Day — could cost him a second term in office:

“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump said. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.”

That admission led to a two-part follow-up question: Would large-scale mail-in voting cause him to question the results if he loses the election? And would he accept the final results, no matter what they show?

“Well, you can never answer the second question, right? Because Hillary kept talking about she’s going to accept, and they never accepted it. You know. She lost too. She lost good.”

Trump also tried to suggest that Hillary Clinton was a much more formidable opponent than Joe Biden:

He portrayed Biden as a weaker candidate than Clinton. Clinton, Trump said, was “obviously smarter” than Biden. And after savaging Clinton for having “no stamina” in 2016, the president indicated he thought she had more energy than the 77-year-old Biden.

“I can tell you a lot about Hillary,” Trump said. “She had a lot of energy and she was smart.”

Though he would never admit it out loud, insiders report that Trump is indeed worried that his mishandling of the pandemic and flagging economy will cause him to lose. What remains to be seen is how he’ll react if and when he loses.

Featured Image Via NBC News