Trump-backed candidates come under scrutiny | News, Sports, Jobs
WASHINGTON – One of them has been accused of assaulting another White House employee. Another allegedly threatened his ex-wife’s life, exaggerated claims of financial success, and alarmed his business partners with his erratic behavior. A third asked a judge to keep the abuse protection orders sealed.
As former President Donald Trump embarks on contested primaries across the country, he’s trying to get revenge and remake the Republican Party in his image. In doing so, he supported a range of candidates implicated in allegations of wrongdoing, including regarding their treatment of women.
This contributes to the anxiety of some Republicans who fear that Trump is giving his powerful political support only to those who flatter his ego. Such candidates might be able to win the GOP primaries in which the base of the supporting Trump party dominates, to struggle in the general election.
And with control of Congress resting on just a few seats, such missteps could be costly.
“There is no verification process – at least not on policy and eligibility”, said Dan Eberhart, a GOP donor and Trump supporter, who said the concerns spread to many corners of the party. “The approval process comes down to how much a candidate supports the former president and is willing for the Trump machine to run his campaign and fundraising. … That they are the most viable candidate in a given race is secondary.
The former president has little reason to be blinded by the allegations facing some of the candidates he has backed. Some details would have appeared in basic background checks similar to those required by many employers. Others were said to have been shared with Trump personally or circulated in GOP circles long before he gave his endorsement.
In his new book, “I will answer your questions now: what I saw in the Trump White House” Stephanie Grisham, former White House press secretary and chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump, accuses her ex-boyfriend of becoming violent as their relationship deteriorates. Ex-boyfriend, Max Miller, was another White House aide and is now showing up to Congress from Ohio with Trump’s enthusiastic blessing.
Miller categorically denied the charges and filed a defamation complaint on Wednesday accusing Grisham of fouling his name.
Grisham says she told the former president and the first lady before Miller announced her candidacy about the abuse, but wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that they “didn’t seem to care.” Trump endorsed Miller as an act of revenge against Representative Anthony Gonzalez, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him following the Jan.6 uprising.
“A White House staff member accused of assault by a woman the president knew and trusted?” It didn’t even seem to register on the president’s radar screen as a concern. On the contrary, knowing what he knows, Trump approved my ex’s candidacy for Congress ”, she wrote.
Trump has a long history of siding with powerful men accused of hurting women, from his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh to former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. He defended a former White House aide who resigned after allegations he had been physically and emotionally abusive towards two ex-women became public. And in 2017, he backed GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, despite allegations Moore sexually assaulted teenage girls decades ago when he was in his 30s.
Trump himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen women, but he, like the other men he has defended, has always vigorously denied the allegations.
Yet the former president and his associates sometimes draw the line.
Last week, Trump severed ties with his former campaign manager and longtime advisor Corey Lewandowski after a donor claimed Lewandowski repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances as part of a fundraising event of funds.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump had defended Lewandowski after he was accused of forcibly grabbing a reporter by the arm and facing a battery charge, which was dropped. Lewandowski denied wrongdoing in both cases.
But more often than not, an allegation of wrongdoing hasn’t stopped the former president from offering his support.
Last month, Trump lent his support to the great footballer Herschel Walker, a longtime friend, for an open Senate seat in Georgia, a race in which the former president had urged Walker to participate. The approval came more than a month after an Associated Press review of hundreds of pages of public documents related to Walker’s business ventures and his divorce revealed accusations that Walker repeatedly threatened to kill. his ex-wife and her new boyfriend and exaggerated her business success, among other things.
Walker’s campaign has generally avoided answering details, but cited the former NFL star’s mental health issues, which he discussed in detail, including in a book.
And in Pennsylvania, Trump’s chosen candidate for an open Senate seat, Sean Parnell, faced questions from rival Jeff Bartos about restraining orders his wife sought in 2017 and 2018 in divorce proceedings. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wednesday that it had asked a judge “to prohibit his wife and lawyer from speaking publicly about previous abuse protection orders against him.”
Parnell notes that the orders do not constitute evidence of wrongdoing. But Bartos tried to make the problem a liability and warned it could damage Parnell in a general election, potentially costing Republicans the seat.
Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich did not answer specific questions about what Trump knew about the allegations, but defended the former president’s choices and instead blamed reporters.
“President Trump continues to choose powerful fighters who will advance his America First agenda,” he said. “However, we are no strangers to the depths that false news is poised to fall in order to smear honorable Patriots with false allegations.”
But even some allies of the former president fear that the haphazard nature of his approval process leaves him exposed to potential embarrassment and the risk of verifying an approval record he is proud of. Some have advised him to be smarter and approve in fewer races, although he reveled in the attention given to him by candidates seeking his seal of approval, still seen as a golden ticket in many. neighborhoods where he remains the biggest star of the party.
For candidates seeking Trump’s support, there is a certain process.
Applicants can get in touch with the Trump team through an email address that has been set up to sift through incoming approval requests. Trump is personally interviewing candidates and aides verify their past statements and try to determine whether they share his political priorities, which now include their stance on election audits and how vigorously they have supported the baseless effort to overturn the results of the election. 2020.
But there is no system in place that would allow, for example, the establishment of records of arrest for impaired driving or property tax lien. And, as always with Trump, decisions are often shaped by what he sees on TV, by gossip, and by those with his ear at the time, including some who may work for candidates seeking support. .
Still, Trump’s allies note that he generally has a good read on the GOP basis. And while someone like Walker may come with luggage, he also has very high name recognition, huge fundraising potential, and is more likely to get Trump’s help than someone who may seem well on paper but which does not excite the former president.
“It’s going to be unpredictable. He wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s a bit his MO, his brand, his DNA politically. said Chip Lake, veteran Georgia GOP strategist.
But approving in so many races carries risks for Trump personally, Lake noted.
“What this means is that you are going to win and lose” he said. “And I suspect he’s going to win a lot more than he’s going to lose. But he will lose some too.