Former President Donald Trump caused some last-minute confusion ahead of Tuesday’s Missouri Senate primary by endorsing “ERIC” in a statement Monday night.
Eric who? Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens? Attorney General Eric Schmitt? Or maybe even the little-known Eric McElroy?
“I trust the Great People of Missouri to make their own decisions on this, just as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 elections, and I am therefore proud to announce , that ERIC has my complete and full approval!” Trump said in a statement after stressing voters, “must send a MAGA champion and true warrior to the US Senate, someone who will represent border security, election integrity, our military and… great veterans will fight, along with a strong toughness against crime and the frontier.”
When Trump’s team was asked for comment, there was no clarity, saying only that the “endorsement speaks for itself.”
Greitens and Schmitt’s allies argued separately that their nominee was the true recipient of the endorsement or that the other guy wasn’t MAGA enough to win Trump’s approval.
A Trump aide said the internal dispute shows the former president’s continued power and influence in the party.
“Instead of talking about Missouri, the Erics are discussing what Trump’s endorsement means,” the adviser said. “Yes, it’s an epic troll.”
By not supporting Greitens, Trump could have sealed his defeat.
“A Trump endorsement is a wildcard that Breitens needs. And when he doesn’t get it, it’s hard to see him win,” said John Lamping, a Republican and former Missouri senator.
Schmitt has led Greits in most public polls, garnering about 30 percent support in the crowded GOP field as Greits tends to top at 25 percent. Statistically, MP Vicky Hartzler took second place in these polls with Greitens.
Greitens began stumbling after a scathing onslaught of radio and TV ads from political committees funded by GOP establishment figures who savaged the former governor for his sex scandalthe allegations of domestic violence and a trade mission on which he embarked China.
For months, Trump had considered backing Greitens, but privately worried those close to him that he was concerned about the sex scandal that helped oust Greitens from office in 2018. And he was troubled by allegations by the former governor’s ex-wife that he physically abused her and their 3-year-old son earlier this year. Greit’s campaign manager, Dylan Johnson, called the allegations “politically motivated” and “completely lies”.
Amid a recent lobbying campaign by Donald Trump Jr. and his fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle — who is co-chair of Greit’s Senate campaign — some Trump watchers were beginning to think the former president would agree with Greit.
But Schmitt also had Trump allies in his corner, namely former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was part of Trump’s defense team at his first impeachment trial.
Trump’s sentiment toward Schmitt’s campaign seemed to sour on Sunday, when he began bitching on his Truth Social website that Schmitt’s pollster Jeff Roe had released a poll of Missouri Republicans who questioned Trump’s dominance in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary, specifically against the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis had not shown. Trump won Missouri by more than 15 percentage points in 2020.
The winner of Tuesday’s Republican primary will face either former US Marine Lucas Kunce or Trudy Busch Valentine, heiress to the Busch family’s beer fortune, in November.
Meanwhile, independent John Wood, a Republican and former investigator on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots, said Monday that he enough signatures submitted to qualify for the ballot in the federal election.
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2022-election/trump-baffles-gop-endorsing-eric-missouri-senate-primary-race-three-er-rcna41049 Trump stuns GOP by endorsing ‘Eric’ in Missouri Senate primary – a three Erics race