Tillis, who has voted with Trump more than 93% of the time, has gone through quite the transformation in the last several months. When Senate Republicans voted to save Trump's presidency, Tillis released a Trump-centric ad defending that vote, touting Trump's trade deals, and reminding voters that Trump would indeed be on the ballot in November. Oops.
In a do-over this week, Tillis sympathizes with the economic difficulties many residents in his state are facing while entirely abandoning Trump and his happy talk about jumpstarting the economy and "TRANSITIONING TO GREATNESS."
A similar erasure of Trump is happening in ads from GOP incumbents in Maine, Arizona, Colorado, and Montana. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who's voted with Trump 89% of the time, skips over Trump completely while hyping his bipartisan work with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to confront the coronavirus. Maine Sen. Susan Collins appears to have switched parties in one ad featuring her alongside Democratic senators Tim Kaine of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Looks like GOP senators took to heart that memo released by the National Republican Senatorial Committee advising against defending Trump. None of these senators are trying to defend the indefensible, even after they voted to keep his presidency alive. Instead, many have taken the memo's advice to scapegoat China for Trump's failures at every turn.
Even Arizona Sen. Martha McSally—who has voted with Trump 95% of the time—moved away from ads earlier this year skewering her Democratic challenger for supporting Trump’s impeachment and removal. Now, McSally's busy playing up the business ties of Democrat Mark Kelly, who's trouncing her in the polls, to China.
Sure, Senate Republicans are fundraising off Trump in targeted emails, but they're not touching him with a 10-foot pole in their large-scale ads. Expect to see more of the mysteriously disappearing Trump since more GOP Senate seats are in play by the week, it seems. Trump's simply too toxic to touch—too bad all the Senate Republicans up for reelection this cycle put their personal stamp of approval on Trump with their acquittal votes.
Below are several examples of recent ads.
Sen. Cory Gardner
Sen. Martha McSally
Sen. Susan Collins