A Washington Post report out Friday says President Donald Trump could be easing his support of Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in his race for the U.S. Senate.
Strange, who finished second in Alabama’s U.S. Senate special election Republican primary earlier this month, is up against former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, the top vote-getter in that contest, in a runoff scheduled for September 26.
The Post report written by Robert Costa, Sean Sullivan and David Weigel said the president was “considering turning his focus away” from the Moore-Strange match-up.
Trump’s support for Strange came in the form of several tweets and a robo-call in the late stages of the Republican primary.
Senator Luther Strange has done a great job representing the people of the Great State of Alabama. He has my complete and total endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Luther Strange of the Great State of Alabama has my endorsement. He is strong on Border & Wall, the military, tax cuts & law enforcement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
Sources told the Post not to expect that level of support for next month’s runoff.
“[T]rump is considering being less engaged than in the first round of voting, when he tweeted his support and recorded a robo-call for the senator, they said — potentially turning the contest into yet another example of the frayed relationship between Trump and McConnell,” Costa, Sullivan and Weigel wrote.
The Post said another reason for the Trump not playing as active of a role in this round voting was the possibility that a loss for Strange could “tarnish” Trump’s image and impact the perception of his influence in the 2018 midterm elections.
Although the Post said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence called to Strange to “assure” him of their support on Friday, it also said voices inside the White House had lobbied Trump not to be active in the Strange-Moore runoff.
“Inside the West Wing, advisers have urged the president to target GOP leaders — and to not weigh in as much, if at all, for Strange,” the report said. “There are no plans for Trump to travel to Alabama to rally with Strange, although the discussions are fluid, the Republicans close to the White House said.”
Strange and Moore are competing for the Republican nod and will face Democratic nominee former Clinton U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in the general election in December for the seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor