BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — As the White House is backing off ardent support for Luther Strange in next month’s U.S. Senate primary runoff, Strange has resorted to falsified direct attacks on his surging opponent, former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Judge Roy Moore.
On Twitter Thursday afternoon, the flailing Strange tweeted out a snippet of Moore’s Thursday morning interview with nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham falsely claiming that Moore attacked President Donald J. Trump. In his tweet, Strange called for Moore to apologize to Trump.
— Luther Strange (@lutherstrange) August 31, 2017
The only problem with Strange’s latest phony attack? The interview, and Moore’s comments, were anything but an attack on President Trump. He was, throughout the interview as Breitbart News has reported, offering glowing praise for the president, pledging to “Make America Great Again,” and offering his support for the “great ideas” that Trump has. Moore, throughout his Ingraham interview, detailed how he is actually supportive of the Trump agenda, whereas Strange does not support lowering the Senate threshold for legislation to a simple majority from 60 votes.
Since Strange stands in the way of the Trump agenda by supporting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to keep the vote threshold at 60 votes instead of 51, he cannot by definition support the Trump agenda, because Strange supports allowing eight Democrats to band together to block everything Trump supports.
In response, Moore fired back at the man who has become known in recent weeks here in Alabama as “Big Lying Luther.” In his own tweet, Moore said he supports the Trump agenda wholeheartedly.
Strange is beset by significant setbacks, and the Strange campaign continues to refuse to apologize to President Trump for insulting the president by hiring Karl Rove’s ex-chief of staff Kristin Davison. The deep ties between Strange and Rove are a serious insult to President Trump, since the president has said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News that he believes Rove is a “dishonorable guy” who should be barred from writing for the Wall Street Journal.
Strange’s campaign spokeswoman Shana Teehan has not responded to repeated inquiries from Breitbart News as to whether Strange agrees with President Trump about Rove being a “dishonorable guy” who should not be allowed to write for the Wall Street Journal. Teehan has also not answered when asked whether Strange will apologize to President Trump for surrounding himself with Rove acolytes like Davison and Senate Leadership Fund head Steven Law—who has run American Crossroads with Rove for years.
Interestingly, the full context of the Ingraham interview with Moore on Thursday illustrates how Moore does support the president and his agenda. The interview started off with Ingraham asking why Trump endorsed Strange in the first round of voting.
“I don’t have first hand access, but I believe I know certain players advised the president that Luther Strange was going to help him—but I don’t see that, I don’t think he’s ready for the progress that the president wants,” Moore told Ingraham. “We’ve got to get this stagnancy in Washington—you know, the establishment is fighting hard.”
As Breitbart News reported earlier in the day before Strange’s false attack on Twitter, here is what actually happened during the Ingraham interview:
Moore added that he thinks Trump “may be” disconnected from the populist nationalist base that elected him, and “I think he’ll find it out the hard way if he comes down” to Alabama to campaign for Strange. “As long as he stays with the candidate that’s going to lose, he’s going to lose credibility,” Moore told Ingraham. “And I think he’s being badly advised out of the White House.”
Moore pledged that he wants to “Make America Great Again,” and said he believes the president has “great ideas.”
But he hammered Strange’s opposition to Trump’s efforts to change the U.S. Senate voting rules back to a simple majority to pass legislation. Strange sides with McConnell against the president in opposing any change that would eliminate the 60-vote threshold in the Senate to pass legislation.
“Well, I don’t describe myself as a Bush Republican—and Luther Strange supports the 60-vote rule,” Moore said. “In a letter to Mitch McConnell and [Chuck Schumer] signed by 60-something senators, they support this. Sixty-one signed this agreement to support the 60-vote rule, and yet the president opposes it, so tell me why the president adopts a candidate who opposes his agenda.”
When Ingraham pressed further on why the president would endorse Strange when Strange opposes core elements of the president’s agenda, Moore replied: “It could be Kushner.”
“I think there are certain people close to the president who are convinced that McConnell will help him if he follows his agenda, but then of course Trump got cross with McConnell,” Moore said. “I can’t explain except personal relations up there, I just know that the conservative movement is not moving forward thanks to the stagnancy in the Senate led by McConnell. McConnell needs to be gone, in my opinion… He needs to be gone from the Senate leadership.”
Strange’s desperate attacks come as the millions upon millions of dollars that McConnell and his allies at the Senate Leadership Fund are failing to get him any serious traction in the polls. Strange is lagging far behind—double digits behind—Moore in the polls, as Moore enjoys a comfortable lead and majority support in Alabama.
It also comes as White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday refused, from the podium, to offer full support for Strange.
“Due to the legal restrictions that I have, I cannot answer anything political from the podium,” Sanders said when asked whether the president still supports Strange. “So I have to leave that to outside folks and the president himself.”
The remarkable refusal to back the candidate the president endorsed from the podium comes as sources close to the president confirm the accuracy of a Washington Post piece saying the president may remain neutral between Strange and Moore in the runoff, and that his endorsement of Strange was just in the primary in the first round.
Moore is gaining much more momentum in the final weeks, and sources close to his campaign said to expect a bevy of new endorsements and support to roll in, in this all important Senate race, after Labor Day. Tonight, Moore is holding a rally here in Birmingham with supporters ahead of the Labor Day weekend.