In midterm endorsements, Trump mixes insults with bizarre praise
President Donald Trump this week has continued to throw his support behind Republican candidates ahead of the midterm elections, tweeting nearly identical endorsements to three GOP congressmen and one gubernatorial hopeful on Tuesday alone.
According to Trump, Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky has been a “winner for his state” and “strong on Crime, the Border, Tax Cuts, Military, Vets and 2nd Amendment.” Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas is a “great guy and the absolute ‘King’ of Cutting Taxes.” In Kansas, Rep. Kevin Yoder is, like Barr, “strong on Crime, the Border, Military, Vets and Second Amendment.” Meanwhile, Mike DeWine, the Republican running in a tight race to be the next governor of Ohio is an “outstanding man who loves his state” and who “always produces big.”
The quartet of “total” or “strong” endorsements Tuesday were part of a weeks-long Twitter blitz by Trump to rally Republicans ahead of the Nov. 6 elections. And, like his dozens of other endorsements, his latest tweets showed little knowledge of the candidates or their races, reading instead like endorsement Mad Libs.
In Trump’s tweets, the Republicans he supports are, invariably, “tough,” “strong” and/or “fantastic.” Because of how “great” each will be for “Crime, Borders & 2nd Amendment,” they have all earned either his “Complete and Total,” “Highest” or “Strongest” endorsements. In fact, Trump said his Republicans are so good at knowing “how to get the job done,” that at least one — Virginia Republican hopeful Denver Riggleman — was able to be a “really big help with Tax Cuts, the Military and our great Vets” even though he isn’t even in Congress yet.
He said Republicans’ opponents, on the other hand, will invariably “destroy” the states they hope to represent. Andrew Gillum, Beto O’Rourke and the rest of the Democrats will turn their states and America as a whole into Venezuela, he has repeatedly warned. In Gillum’s case, Trump said the Tallahassee mayor “presides over one of the worst run, and most corrupt, cities in Florida.”
Altogether, Trump’s Twitter feed has been a barrage of boilerplate Republican endorsements and petty and misleading attacks on their Democratic rivals — often in nearly identical messages with only the names changed.
It’s not clear if Trump’s stock Twitter endorsements are helping or hurting his candidates.
On the one hand, a message of support on Trump’s closely-watched Twitter feed can draw attention to a candidate. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told ABC News in August that one of Trump’s formulaic endorsements resulted in “many new donors, small and large.”
“The president’s endorsement matters, and matters a lot,” White House political director Bill Stepien told the outlet.
On the other hand, Trump remains toxic in the eyes of many moderate voters, and Democrats across the country have sought to tie their GOP opponents to the historically-unpopular president, whose unpredictability has continued to be a potential liability for Republicans in the final stretch of the race.
The latest Trump surprise came Tuesday, when Axios aired an interview in which the president said he is going to attempt via executive order to end birthright citizenship — a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Trump, perhaps, was making the stunning, unconstitutional proposal as part of his anti-immigration pitch to energize his far-right base. But as retiring Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) tweeted Tuesday, the “out of nowhere” suggestion isn’t only in violation of a “basic tenet of America” — it could further turn voters off of Republicans, particularly in more moderate suburban districts.
“We all know challenges of suburban [Republicans],” Costello tweeted. “Besides being basic tenet of America, it’s political malpractice.”