Trump tells West Virginia Republicans Blankenship can not win Senate race

Arturo Kim
May 8, 2018

President Donald Trump on Monday weighed in on the U.S. Senate race in West Virginia, urging Republican voters to reject combative newcomer Don Blankenship, a retired coal company executive, in favor of two more mainstream GOP candidates.

He responded to Trump's tweeted repudiation with a statement saying "the President is a very busy man and doesn't know me".

O'Connell, who worked on John McCain's presidential campaign, said he believes that if Blankenship loses the primary this Tuesday, the race is the Republicans' to win. He added that the "institution would be misinforming him because they usually do not desire me to function as from the U.S. Senate and market the President's schedule".

Trump himself voiced concern on Monday, the day before the race's primary, when he urged West Virginia voters to reject Blankenship in favor of a more electable candidate.

Many on the right are concerned if Blankenship wins the primary, he'll nearly certainly lose the general election to Democratic Sen.

He explicitly referenced the race at the end of the event, as he asked the audience to cheer for Jenkins or Morrisey in a demonstration of how the crowd planned to vote in the upcoming GOP senate primary.

Trump, seeking to tap into nativist sentiment across the country, kicked off his 2016 campaign with harsh rhetoric on Mexican immigrations to the United States, labeling undocumented immigrants as "rapists" who are "bringing drugs" and "bringing crime".

"Tomorrow, West Virginia will send the swamp a message-no one, and I mean no one, will tell us how to vote". No one would be happier about that than Joe Manchin, as Blankenship is the Democrats' dream candidate. He spent much of the event taking aim at Manchin while being flanked on either side by Jenkins and Morrisey.

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Blankenship has taken aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with racially charged accusations of corruption.

Blankenship is a former mine owner who went to prison in connection with the deaths of 29 miners in a 2010 explosion.

"Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people", Blankenship said in the ad Politico first reported.

"No more fumbles like Alabama", he wrote. Should the Mr. Blankenship however win despite the intervention it would be exceptionally uncomfortable to Mr. Trump.

The president had offered Moore his full-throated support in the days leading to the special election in the deep red Cotton State.

A super PAC linked to Democrats has been running ads in West Virginia attacking Jenkins and Morrisey for weeks.

"I think he would follow in the exact same footsteps as our president", Newbrough said.

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