Did President Trump just hand the deep-red state of Kansas over to the Democrats?
That’s what a lot of the President’s inner circle might be thinking after Trump endorsed Kris Kobach, Kansas’s current secretary of state and strong immigration hardliner, for governor. Last year, Trump had tapped Kobach to head up his now-shuttered voter fraud commission. (RELATED: President Trump Set to Sign Executive Order on Voter Fraud.)
This move came as a surprise because Trump was reportedly not going to weigh in on the primary fight. But here’s the tweet:
Kris Kobach, a strong and early supporter of mine, is running for Governor of the Great State of Kansas. He is a fantastic guy who loves his State and our Country – he will be a GREAT Governor and has my full & total Endorsement! Strong on Crime, Border & Military. VOTE TUESDAY!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2018
This is the worst nightmare for Republican leaders: being repudiated by the President. Kobach is seen as an extremist. It’s assumed that he’ll have a tougher time beating his Democrat opponent in the fall compared to a generic Republican.
What makes this story interesting is that Trump was actually reluctant to endorse Kobach, and was planning on not tweeting his support. This was all reported by the highly-connected reporter Jonathan Swan over the weekend. Swan reported:
Senior Republican officials have told me they’re holding their breath, hoping Trump won’t endorse hardliner Kris Kobach in Tuesday’s Kansas gubernatorial primary. Kobach is as far right as a Republican gets on immigration and voting rights, and Democrats view his potential victory as an opportunity to steal centrist voters.
- A source close to Trump told me they thought the president had been convinced to hold off on supporting Kobach. But he added he couldn’t be confident, given that Trump is in Bedminster with a cell phone and plenty of Executive Time.
Clearly, Trump’s vacation has given him plenty of time to think. And he came to the conclusion that his handlers and the Republican establishment were wrong: Kobach deserves his endorsement.
Now we wait and see if Kobach wins the primary in Kansas tomorrow.