The president’s meddling does not exactly have the best record in recent elections. He supported Republican Rick Saccone in the recently held Pennsylvania Congressional race to fill the seat vacated by Tim Murphy, but — although the race was close — Democrat Conor Lamb prevailed.
Other recent failures on the part of the president came in the most recent Virginia gubernatorial race and the recent U.S. Senate race down in Alabama. In the first case, he supported Ed Gillespie, who lost, and in the second case, he supported credibly accused child predator Roy Moore, who also lost.
Now, the president is trying out meddling in lower level elections yet again. Ahead of the midterm elections later this year, he took to Twitter this Friday to throw his implicit support behind incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada.
He posted a statement calling on Heller’s Republican primary challenger Danny Tarkanian to drop out of the race and run for Congress instead.
‘It would be great for the Republican Party of Nevada, and it’s unity if good guy Danny Tarkanian would run for Congress and Dean Heller, who is doing a really good job, could run for Senate unopposed!’
There are both similarities and differences here to past behavior on the part of the president.
In the aforementioned Alabama U.S. Senate race, he did, in fact, initially throw his support behind the incumbent Republican Senator, but that support proved fruitless when that incumbent — Luther Strange — lost to Roy Moore.
The difference between that show of support for an incumbent on the part of the president and this one is that Trump hadn’t publicly threatened to undercut Strange in the past. He has, in fact, publicly threatened to undercut Heller’s political future in the past, although the threat was implicit.
The threat from the president came in the context of the debate last year over national health policy.
During a meeting last July, speaking of Heller and the question of whether the GOP ObamaCare repeal would garner enough support to pass, Trump commented:
‘This was the one we were worried about, you weren’t there. You’re going to be. Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he? Okay, and I think the people of your state, which I know very well, I think they’re going to appreciate what you hopefully will do.’
GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act eventually failed — thanks in large part to Senators John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski — and Trump is evidently feeling enough pressure to hang onto the support of Heller’s seat in the Senate to find it nothing to put his past sparring with Heller behind him.
As for Tarkanian, the Nevada Republican has been mounting failed campaigns for elected office for over ten years.
Among recent news stories involving him is the accusation that he illegally funneled cash from a charity into his 2012 Congressional campaign. $40,000 went, at the time, from his charity basketball foundation to a company that owed him money to his personal account to his campaign account.
He also attracted scrutiny late last year for campaigning with a literal pimp. (Prostitution is legal in Nevada outside of Las Vegas.)
The pimp, Dennis Hof, is apparently himself running for public office in Nevada. His Twitter bio lists him as a candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36. He has literally sought to auction off a young woman’s virginity in the past.
It’s not immediately clear what the last straw was that prompted Trump to try and prop up Heller in favor of Tarkanian. What is seemingly evident, though, is that the president is feeling the heat of Democrats’ rising fortunes.
Check out Twitter’s response to the president below.
Featured Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images