President Donald Trump pretended he had spent political capital when he showed up on Friday at a campaign rally in Alabama for Republican Sen. Luther Strange.
Trump boasted to the crowd that his endorsement in the state GOP primary lifted Strange in the polls — but moaned that if Strange lost, the news media wouldn’t say that.
“I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake,” Trump said of his choice. Then Trump dropped this surprise: “If his opponent wins, I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him.”
Whoa. Isn’t it interesting that the president said this four days before “his candidate” faced the vote? Makes you wonder who was doing what to whom.
Turns out candidate Strange indeed lost the primary to Roy Moore — a controversial former state judge who seems to believe “God’s law” can invalidate federal court decisions.
Campaign endorsements aside, Moore’s victory and Strange’s loss will be just fine with Team Trump — presuming Moore wins December’s special election, which looks likely.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is the biggest loser here. Moore targeted him in the campaign as part of the Washington “swamp.” Moore never attacked Trump.
In fact, Moore — who was twice suspended from his job as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court — had guidance and help from Trump’s ideological guru Steve Bannon.
Three weeks ago as he departed the White House staff, Bannon said he would be Trump’s “wing man outside” for the remainder of his presidency.
And on Monday, Trump’s “wing man” was doing little short of declaring war on McConnell and other “establishment” Republicans.
“For Mitch McConnell and [operatives] Ward Baker and Karl Rove and Steven Law, all the instruments that tried to destroy Judge Moore and his family, your day of reckoning is coming,” Bannon was quoted as warning.
Trump, too, has been blasting McConnell, over health care and Senate procedures. Now he has one more thing to blame on the majority leader — alleged embarrassment to himself.
The headline on Bannon’s Breitbart News website boasted: “MOORE WIN MAKES STEVE BANNON, BREITBART NEWS TAKE CENTER STAGE.”
With financing from the Mercer family on Long Island, Bannon is also aiding other insurgencies around the country against members of McConnell’s conference.
Don’t expect Trump to have problems embracing Moore. Sure, Moore was chided for defying high federal court rulings in order to press his own agenda. But so was Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff from Arizona. The president pardoned Arpaio.
After returns were reported from Alabama on Tuesday, Trump removed several pro-Strange statements from his Twitter feed. And he added:
“Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!”