Don Blankenship: I Will Run Against Trump if He ‘Gets in My Way’

Don Blankenship, convicted by a jury in December 2015 of conspiracy to willfully violate mine safety standards, will be fined $250,000
Getty/AFP/File Alex Wong

Coal businessman Don Blankenship threatened to run against President Donald Trump if, he said, “Trump gets in my way,” according to an article in the New Yorker published on Sunday.

New Yorker staff writer Carolyn Kormann wrote after the interview with Blankenship, “We exchanged business cards. He told me to hold on to his for when he’s President. ‘If Trump gets in my way, I’ll just run against him,’ he said.”

Blankenship faces off against West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and the establishment-backed Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) in the state’s Senate Republican primary.

Morrisey slammed Blankenship in a statement on Tuesday, saying:

It turns out Don Blankenship isn’t concerned with West Virginia at all, but with his own vanity. The choice in this Senate race is clear: A proven conservative fighter who will stand with President Trump vs. a narcissistic criminal who declared war on President Trump. It’s time for Don to grow up and put West Virginia’s conservative values first. If he can’t do that, then he should move back to Nevada where his legal residence is.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday that Blankenship cannot win the general election on Tuesday and suggested West Virginians should either vote for Morrisey or the establishment-backed Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV).

Trump wrote:

To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State…No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!

Steven Law, president of the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund super PAC, wrote a memo this spring suggesting a Republican could beat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) in the general election, as long as the candidate is not Blankenship.

“We would forfeit any chance of beating Manchin if Blankenship becomes the nominee,” Law emphasized.

The coal magnate also committed a social faux pas during the campaign when he referred to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s father as a “wealthy China person” who was “well-connected in China.” Secretary Chao is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife.

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