Trumpworld scrambles to contain fallout from Oz endorsement

“You know, I’ve read a few articles, I’ve had a lot of reactions to that, 99% support, ‘MAGA is shocked,'” Hannity said. “When I supported Donald Trump pretty early on, I got beaten to death – Glenn Beck, Ben Shapiro… and promised people he would govern as a Conservative and he did. And I say the same about you [Oz].”

But the night after Hannity’s segment, fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham did one of her own, in which she played clips of Oz’s past stances on abortion and sex laws. guns and pressed former Trump aide Kellyanne Conway — who backs businessman David McCormick, the GOP’s chief Oz rival, and works with a McCormick-backing super PAC — if Trump’s decision was wrong.

“Kellyanne, do you think Trump’s endorsement of Oz was a mistake?” said Ingraham. “I think Hannity endorsed Oz, and I think that’s probably not without consequence for President Trump. You wouldn’t answer the question of whether it was a mistake. I think it was a mistake on Trump’s part to endorse Oz. I’ll say it, I’m not afraid to say it.

Fox News’ dueling segments illustrate the cracks that have erupted across the MAGA world following Trump’s interference in the Pennsylvania GOP primary. And it’s the latest example of how the former president’s endorsements have often added more chaos to already contentious battles to define the Republican Party during his post-presidency.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since committee chairmen in Pennsylvania saying, ‘What’s going on? What was President Trump thinking?'” said Army veteran Sean Parnell, the candidate originally endorsed by Trump in the race, who withdrew following allegations of abuse by his ex-wife Parnell is backing McCormick.

Following Trump’s endorsement, social media erupted with complaints from popular right-wing figures ranging from Blaze TV’s Allie Beth Stuckey and far-right personality Jack Posobiec to Trump’s longtime hand Roger Stone. and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who recently had his own Trump endorsement overturned by the former president.

“It’s like Donald Trump’s staff sabotaging Trump by convincing him to make the worst endorsements possible,” conservative pundit Erick Erickson wrote on Twitter.

Trump’s decision to endorse Oz followed pleas from numerous Republican operatives for him to pick a side in the contentious primary race. And it comes after the former president was publicly criticized by some on the right for his other endorsements; among them his support for former State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus, who is running for a House seat in Tennessee against another MAGA frontrunner, Robby Starbuck, and his decision to support and withdraw Brooks.

According to people familiar with the matter, those most influential in the decision included Hannity; Trump’s wife, Melania Trump; and friends from Palm Beach such as billionaire Steve Wynn. Trump was impressed with the crowd at Oz Senate campaign events, and he was aware that McCormick had made negative comments about Trump in the past on video, according to a person familiar with Trump’s thinking.

A person close to Trump shrugged off any notion that Trump had buyer’s remorse or suffered headaches over his endorsement of Oz. “Genuine outrage versus paid outrage has been hard to discern,” the person said.

The Oz campaign, meanwhile, argued that the narrative of the negative reaction to Trump’s nod was exaggerated and driven by Team McCormick.

An Oz aide pointed out that the event with Carson had been in the works for some time. But Oz has also rolled out the endorsements of two House GOP members in Pennsylvania since Trump’s announcement: Representatives Fred Keller and Lloyd Smucker.

Referring to the famous doctor’s supporters, Oz spokeswoman Brittany Yanick said: “Sean Hannity, Rick Perry, Ted Nugent, Congressman Reschenthaler, Congressman Keller, Ryan Zinke, Harold Hamm have a lot more credibility than some of these people on Twitter.”

But even some of Oz’s supporters have acknowledged concern that the fallout from Trump’s nod could impact the party’s chances in the general election. The Pennsylvania Senate race is key to the GOP’s hopes of regaining control of the chamber, and victory in November will require Republicans all rowing in the same direction.

“Unless you really want to harm us in the general, I don’t know why you’re continuing this,” Northampton Republican Party chairwoman and Oz supporter Gloria “Lee” Snover said of the decision to Trump. . “That’s why I’m mad at these people who won’t recover from the endorsement. Alright, it happened. It’s done. Are you going to keep trashing the Republican Party? Please , stopped.”

Snover was thrilled with Trump’s endorsement, and she said she pushed for it after going through her own transformation from Oz skeptic to Oz fan. She sees a parallel between Oz and Trump.

“I went back today and was watching old videos of Trump when he said he was pro-choice before he ran. And he ended up being the most pro-life president we’ve ever had. had in our Republican Party history,” she said. “So these people trashing Oz, they did this to Trump when they got away. … They’re like, ‘Oh, he’s pro-choice and he’s liberal and he’s RINO and he’s for democrats.’ They said all that about Trump.

Oz allies believe Trump’s endorsement will have a major impact on Republican primary voters who are still unsure who to back in the race. A survey published by Eagle Consulting Groupwhich was on the ground through Saturday afternoon before Trump’s endorsement, showed that 45% of likely Pennsylvania GOP voters remained undecided, with 18% backing McCormick and 11% backing Oz.

Jim Schultz, a former White House attorney close to the McCormick campaign, said McCormick was proceeding with his campaign as planned.

“Nothing has changed for Dave at this point,” he said. “He has been true to America First’s policies from day one. He was genuine to his Pennsylvania roots. And Oz isn’t authentic to anything.

A spokesperson for McCormick pointed to recent interviews in which McCormick praised Trump and cast himself — not Oz — as the true curator of the race.

“I respect the president and he’s incredibly popular in the Palestinian Authority, as you know Will, and has huge following among conservatives, unlike Mehmet Oz. If you look at the polls, he’s not seen as the conservative and for good reason,” McCormick said on ‘The Rich Zeoli Show.’ and not an America-first conservative.”

McCormick won the support of people like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who held a rally with McCormick.

So far, Trump has not announced a rally in Pennsylvania ahead of the May 17 primary, though Trump has held multiple rallies a month and an event in Pennsylvania isn’t ruled out. A Trump spokesperson declined to comment on the record for this story and pointed to Trump’s statement announcing his endorsement of Oz.

Oz and McCormick each contributed millions to the primary, making Pennsylvania’s race one of the most expensive in the nation. And in a sign that the McCormick team is undeterred by Trump’s endorsement of Oz, she told Axios on Wednesday that the campaign has raised more than $4.3 million in its first three months. .


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