President Trump gave an endorsement to the establishment-backed Sen. Luther Strange for the Alabama Senate primary Friday night but later admitted that if opponent Judge Roy Moore wins the runoff, he will campaign for Moore.
Trump praised Strange as a “real fighter and a real good guy” in remarks to the audience in Huntsville, Alabama. He also responded to criticism that Strange is backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by calling him a “tough cookie” who “doesn’t deal and kowtow to anyone.”
However, while Trump gave effusive praise to Strange, he acknowledged that his chosen guy was behind in the race, and claimed he had been given a “bum rap” due to him already being in the Senate. A poll released Thursday showed Moore eight points ahead of Strange with just days to go until the runoff.
Trump then appeared to hedge his bets and said that he would back Moore if he beat Strange on Tuesday.
“By the way, both good men and you know what, I told Luthe … if his opponent wins I’m going to be here campaigning like hell for him,” he said to applause from the crowd.
Trump went on to warn the audience that he does not believe Moore can win in the general election:
“But I have to say this, and you understand this and look at the polls, Luther will definitely win [in the general election], Roy has a very good chance of not winning in the general election,” he said.
While numerous polls have shown Moore ahead of Strange in the primary race, it is not clear what poll Trump is referring to that shows Moore losing to a Democrat in deep-red Alabama.
Yet, despite that dubious assertion, Trump reiterated: “I will be backing [Moore] if he wins, I will be backing him.”
The remarks are likely to be a significant blow to Strange, who has consistently and tirelessly repeated his backing from Trump as a central talking point for his campaign.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY