In a move that has put former President Donald Trump at odds with his most fervent supporters, the former President inexplicably endorsed an establishment ‘Never Trumper,’ Morgan Ortagus, in a primary bid for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.
The unexpected endorsement is a snub of staunch Trump ally and America First candidate Robby Starbuck, who announced his candidacy for the seat in June of 2021.
Trump under fire over Tennessee primary nod https://t.co/jDaMYMthjW pic.twitter.com/as4qA5k0E2
— The Hill (@thehill) February 1, 2022
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Backlash Is Swift
Some of the most prominent Republican politicians and conservative voices took Trump to task for his endorsement of Ortagus. Conservative commentator Candace Owens voiced her opposition to the endorsement on Twitter:
Nope. Trump has this completely wrong. @robbystarbuck is the correct pick for Tennessee’s 5th district and Tennesseans have his back. https://t.co/pIWXYyYanb
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) January 26, 2022
Another strong Trump supporter in Congress, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), also took to Twitter to reiterate his endorsement for Starbuck:
I endorsed @robbystarbuck months ago and I stand by my endorsement.
He is the best candidate in the country right now.
The MAGA movement needs him in Congress!
— Madison Cawthorn (@CawthornforNC) January 26, 2022
Another outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), stated that she would continue to back Starbuck saying that he “has been a champion for ‘America First’ for a long time.”
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Trump supporter Sebastian Gorka weighed in:
Apparently it was @LindseyGrahamSC who told President Trump Morgan Ortagus should run in TN5 where we already have a strong MAGA candidate.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) January 30, 2022
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One Reason For Blowback: Ortagus’ Past
Besides snubbing Starbuck, the endorsement of Morgan Ortagus by Donald Trump is baffling based on her opposition to Trump and the America First views he holds.
Ortagus spent 2016 working for a Jeb Bush super PAC. She criticized Trump’s America First foreign policy as an “isolationist foreign policy approach,” and also described Trump as “disgusting” and “not serious.”
“Ortagus is a senior advisor for a sub-venture of the Atlantic Council. Abroad, the Atlantic Council (whose donors include the UAE, Raytheon, Boeing, and even Burisma) is a leading agitator for permanent conflict with Russia…”https://t.co/H2OM2w2kaP
— Darren J. Beattie 🌐 (@DarrenJBeattie) February 1, 2022
In a radio interview she said, “Quite frankly, I don’t want someone with the temperament of a middle school pubescent boy in the president’s office.”
🧵 I've been handed further info on Trump's latest endorsement, Morgan Ortagus.
Ortagus' *business partner*, Samantha Vinograd, is a prominent anti-Trump activist, Russiahoax advocate, and…. Senior Advisor at The Biden Institute.
But wait, it gets worse ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/3zyt4jZBx2
— Daniel Bostic (@debostic) January 29, 2022
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Endorsement Seen As Premature In Trump Inner Circle
On top of all that, Ortagus has not even officially announced her candidacy.
Following the near-universal backlash from Trump supporters, an unnamed Trump aide called the nod “a misstep” that has created some rather tense feelings between Trump and his most ardent supporters.
Those deepest within the inner circle, Trump’s eldest son Don Jr. and social media director Dan Scavino, have criticized the endorsement.
It will be interesting to see if Trump acknowledges the mistake or simply moves ahead.
Quite the thread… https://t.co/9LDXIaRPw6
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 26, 2022
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