Donald Trump supporters in Alabama are frustrated, McClatchy’s Katie Glueck reports. Venting Thursday night during a campaign rally for conservative Judge Roy Moore, members of Trump’s base expressed fear that their president — who’s backed Moore’s opponent, establishment candidate U.S. Senator Luther Strange, in next week’s Republican runoff — is being misled. With Moore leading in polls, Tuesday’s election has the Beltway watching in fear over future grassroots insurgent candidates who may challenge the GOP establishment.
Donald Trump is getting bad advice. He’s being misled. The D.C. “swamp” is threatening his agenda.
A sampling of the president’s most ardent supporters gathered Thursday in a sweltering train shed to puzzle—and vent—over Trump’s decision to back Sen. Luther Strange in the Republican Senate runoff here in Alabama, a race that has become the biggest disagreement to date between Trump and the most committed elements of his base.
As the nasty, expensive Republican runoff between Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore hurtles to a close on Tuesday, the race is scrambling alliances and fault lines that have until now defined Trump’s presidency, and it is testing Trump’s ability to persuade his base during a rare moment of discord.
“I don’t know why he endorsed Strange when he wants to drain the swamp,” said Stan Stinson, 55, a longtime Trump supporter who drove several hours to attend a rally for Moore and says Trump’s endorsement of Strange is his most significant difference with Trump thus far. “It seems he’s adding another member to the swamp with that endorsement.”
But Washington is watching Tuesday’s race closely. Many senators and political operatives expect that Moore would upend McConnell’s agenda as a member of his caucus, and a Moore victory could inspire other hardliners to jump into primary races around the country, especially if they have reason to hope that Bannon-aligned forces would back them too.
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