President Donald Trump has made it hard for fellow Republicans to defend him in the ongoing probes into whether his campaign colluded with Russia in influencing the 2016 presidential election, says Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President George W. Bush.
"The president has given Republicans pause before they jump into the foxhole with him," Fleischer told Fox News's "Fox & Friends" on Friday.
"And partly it's because he's not very popular, his numbers don't give Republicans confidence that they can defend him and it's also because of some his tweets.
"I think the message that the president has got to get is if he wants people in his foxhole who will pound the table and defend him — don't make it hard for those people."
Fleischer was reacting to Thursday's explosive hearing on Capitol Hill, in which former FBI chief James Comey was grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee about Trump's alleged attempt to kill a probe of his former national security adviser Mike Flynn and his contacts with Russia.
During the hearing, GOP lawmakers seemed subdued in their defense of Trump.
Fleischer pointed to Trump's tweets charging President Barack Obama with wiretapping Trump Tower and hints that he may have tapes of conversations between himself and Comey as examples of how Trump is spooking his fellow Republicans.
"They're not sure how to go to defend him. They want to defend him, they should be pounding table, it's important for the policies to be enacted, for the president to be successful, but the president hurts people himself," Fleischer said.
"My message here is the president can create more allies, he should create more allies But he's got to be more judicious about what he tweets and how far he goes . . .
"What makes a politician a politician is they decide if they want to jump in the foxhole with you, and you need to create an environment so they want to jump in to that foxhole. You have to earn it."
Fleischer, now the president of Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, added he understands how Trump wants to make the cloud over him go away, but "in the political realm the president has to do this with discipline and a wise approach."
His concern over Trump's tweeting echoes the sentiment of Bill O'Reilly, the former Fox News host who told Newsmax TV on Thursday that the commander in chief should have an editor vet his tweets before they're sent off.
"The problem with President Trump is that he doesn't base his tweets, many of them, on facts," O'Reilly told Newsmax's John Bachman.
"He's the president. He can give an opinion, and it's okay. But if his opinion is based on false information, he's going to look bad, and he gives his enemies ammunition."
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