The chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party is threatening to use armed state law enforcement agents to forcibly remove Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz supporters at the next round of delegate elections.
Breitbart News has obtained text messages sent by state party chairman Joe Nosef to Trump campaign official Mitch Tyner threatening the use of force ahead of Saturday’s elections for state-level delegates in Mississippi. Nosef says that he is merely ensuring “safety.”
Most of the state party establishment figures have already backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Even though Trump won the Mississippi primary by eleven points, the party is still looking to control the delegate slates in the event of a second ballot in Cleveland. If the Trump or Cruz camps try to put up new delegate candidates that haven’t been vetted by the party, the party is prepared to use officers with “a gun and a badge” to remove them.
Trump official Tyner confirms the authenticity of the text messages he received. Tyner said that when he met with Nosef recently, Nosef referred to using the Highway Patrol to monitor Saturday’s caucuses. The Highway Patrol was deployed four years ago to monitor a congressional district caucus in which now former Rep. Ron Paul was poised to defeat Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The Highway Patrol serves at the will of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who endorsed Ted Cruz. State party insiders are unsure whether Bryant is really supporting Cruz or just trying to use him to keep Trump below 1,237 delegates so the Republican Establishment can launch a “White Knight” candidate on the second ballot.
Nosef says in the text messages that he is “representing a governor” and warns Tyner:
The bottom line is I told you this can happen one of two ways either we work together and include people that we trust and also happen to be Trump and Cruz supporters or we just put whoever we want to on there have a big fight and end up in the contest committee in Cleveland. And like I told you I can promise my cousin and anybody else if they even so much as raise their voice they’re going to be outside in the parking lot and they won’t be back in and no I won’t be removing them somebody with a gun and a badge will be.
The “cousin” Nosef was referring to is state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who ran for Senate against longtime incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in 2014 and lost in a run-off thanks in large part to a variety of dirty tricks employed by the GOP establishment. That internecine GOP war, between McDaniel and Cochran, in many ways foreshadowed what has happened on the national stage this year in the presidential primaries. McDaniel is now the state co-chair of the Ted Cruz campaign.
“We will never apologize for making sure we have a professional, safe environment for our Republican Party events, and more importantly our people deserve it. This year more than ever our people have expressed concerns about their safety, and as always we will maintain order,” Nosef told Breitbart News in a statement, referring to the texts.
“There’s no question he’s doing anything he can do to oppose conservative candidates like Trump or Cruz,” said Noel Fritsch, a well-known Mississippi conservative who worked for McDaniel. “When he says include people we trust, he means people we can control.”
“Governor Bryant should immediately call for Joe Nosef’s resignation, and more importantly, he should make it clear that the state police will not be used to silence political dissent in Mississippi,” Fritsch said.
“Since the misuse of the Highway Patrol involves public funds they could be engendering a very expensive law suit,” veteran political operative and Trump supporter Roger Stone said. “They are also providing grounds to unseat their Trojan Horse delegates in either the credentials committee or the full convention. It appears to me that Gov. Bryant runs the risk of having to watch the convention on TV from his hotel room.”
Nosef sent an email Tuesday to Mississippi Republicans to prepare people for Saturday’s caucuses and implore them to support the interests of their Cruz-endorsing governor:
Please show your support for Governor Bryant and your local county party leadership by voting for the person or persons at your precinct who are there representing the Governor, and plan to attend the county convention to support him and your local county leaders. If you are not sure whether someone seeking to be a delegate from your precinct meets these criteria, ask them or the temporary precinct chairman or call the Party Headquarters at 601-948-5191.
There has been a lot of attention given to the national convention, and Governor Bryant is already working directly with the presidential campaigns to make sure our delegation to the national convention will be fair to each campaign and go by the rules of our state and national parties. However, the precinct caucuses and county conventions are equally important to the future of our Mississippi Republican Party – we need to keep the Governor as the leader of our party and not anyone trying to present themselves as representatives of any particular presidential campaign.
Gov. Bryant’s office and the national campaign staff for Cruz and for Trump haven’t replied to requests for comment.