It was the first thing mentioned after they cut the small talk.
“I’m trying to win in 2020,” Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen told conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan in a secret recording of their infamous June meeting made public Tuesday.
Over the next hour, the discussion veered from topic to topic, most notably revealing that Bonnen offered media access to Sullivan’s group, Empower Texans, while suggesting it target certain GOP members. But never too far from their conversation was the stark acknowledgment that Texas Republicans are in trouble in 2020, particularly in the state House — and President Donald Trump is not helping.
“With all due respect to Trump — who I love, by the way — he’s killing us in urban-suburban districts,” Bonnen said at one point, suggesting he has seen polling that shows Trump down 15 percentage points in one battleground state House district, while the GOP incumbent is “even.”