A new video has emerged of Wisconsin U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir holding her nose when describing how she and others would feel voting for then-likely GOP presidential nominee now President Donald Trump for president and saying that Trump is “offensive to everyone.”
Appearing with devout Never Trump leader Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes after her preferred candidates Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dropped out of the race at a women’s roundtable, Vukmir launches into a minute-long tirade about Trump in this video.
Beginning at about 8:29 into this video, Vukmir trashes Trump and his supporters — and says other Republicans will be holding their noses to vote for Trump for president in 2016.
“I’m not endorsing Donald Trump — I haven’t made any endorsements,” Vukmir said. “My… I was for Scott Walker and then for Marco Rubio and when those two gentlemen dropped out of the race, I decided I’m not endorsing at this point. But, when you get to the final outcome, let’s say it is Trump versus Hillary [Clinton]. The landscape is going to change because people are going to say: ‘Do we really want Hillary?’ So it’s going to be hard. I just got back from Washington, D.C., and talked to a lot of folks out there and people are saying I spoke to a lot of women who said ‘yeah, he’s offensive.'”
Vukmir did not stop with that. She herself launched into another attack on Trump, calling him “offensive” not just to women but to “everyone.”
“He’s offensive to everyone,” Vukmir said of Trump. “He’s offensive to women. He’s offensive to men. He’s offensive to little people. He’s offensive to fat people. He’s offensive to everyone, and I — he offends everyone.”
It’s at that point where Vukmir held her nose to demonstrate what she and other voters would do to be able to stand for voting for Trump.
‘So, I think ultimately if our goal as Republicans is to defeat Hillary Clinton, there are going to be a lot of people doing this if they want to–,” Vukmir said, while bending her right elbow to pinch her nose with her thumb and pointer finger.
Sykes, the devout Never Trumper, said in response to Vukmir holding her nose: “I personally won’t be one of them by the way.”
That event was on March 23, 2016. Trump had already won a number of major states, and only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich remained in the race. Neither stood a chance at that point of winning the nomination outright without a contested convention in Cleveland, only Trump could accomplish that feat. And so-called Never Trump forces from around the country were working to try to deny Trump a clear majority of the delegates at the convention, hoping to wrest the nomination away from him. Wisconsin was central to their strategy, at it was where Vukmir now claims to support Trump on the campaign trail where a routing by Cruz seemed to throw Trump’s presidential chances into doubt once more before the now president of the United States crushed his entire competition with massive wins on the Eastern Seaboard and then in his home state of New York before ultimately sealing the deal in Indiana in early May 2016. Trump would go on to make history, though, in the general election, by flipping Wisconsin to the GOP and winning the state for the first time in decades.
Voters in Wisconsin’s Aug. 14, 2018, GOP senatorial primary have another similar choice: Vukmir is not the only candidate in the upcoming senatorial primary. Pro-Trump businessman Kevin Nicholson, a retired Marine endorsed by Combat Veterans for Congress and backed by a number of leading conservatives, is also running. Polling has been scant and mixed but, generally speaking, Nicholson has maintained a consistent lead over Vukmir for the better part of a year, despite the GOP establishment in Wisconsin propping up Vukmir’s bid. An NBC News poll last week had Nicholson up ten points, whereas an Emerson survey this week had them tied but showed Nicholson faring at least five percent better against Democrat incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) than Vukmir’s poor general election performance.
The revelation of this video of Vukmir mocking Trump comes on the heels of a Breitbart News exclusive report on a series of Never Trump activists running Vukmir’s campaign. That report uncovered that Vukmir’s four highest-ranking field staffers, her campaign manager, communications director, field director, and finance director as well as a fifth staffer involved in finance for the campaign are all devout Never Trumpers who have tweeted criticisms repeatedly of the president including the hashtag Never Trump and even, in some cases, after Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in November 2016. Vukmir’s campaign manager and finance director, Jess Ward and Mary Beth Gahn, both hid their Twitter accounts from the public after the publication of Breitbart News’s report on their Never Trump activities. Communications director Mattias Gugel and field director Jake Lubenow both still have their anti-Trump tweets, and full accounts, online even after publication of the Breitbart News piece.
While the four most senior staffers of her campaign are all devout Never Trumpers, and the candidate herself is now aware of this, she has done nothing to hold them accountable. Nonetheless, some prominent Wisconsin Republicans with national ties have attempted to privately assuage concerns over Vukmir’s deep Never Trump ties with national Trump supporters by arguing these staffers are low-level. But they control every respect of the campaign, from communications to fundraising to field direction to even the campaign manager.
Vukmir herself was also exposed as mocking Trump supporters, alongside the Never Trump radio host Sykes and the fifth staffer exposed in the Breitbart News expose, Cate Dillon, as “Trumpkins.”
Now, exclusively here for the first time, audio of Vukmir during the Republican primary after Walker had dropped out of the presidential race and before she shifted her support officially to Rubio, has emerged where Vukmir further mocks the Trump supporters she called “Trumpkins.” The derisive comment about Trump supporters being “Trumpkins” — which she made clear she is “not” one — also came in a radio interview with the Never Trump Charlie Sykes.
At approximately 7:29 into the above audio file, Sykes asks Vukmir pointedly: “So you are not a Trumpkin?”
She replies, in no uncertain terms after laughing: “I am totally not a Trumpkin. Love the word, but I am not one.” She laughed again.
Vukmir has refused, as of now, through her campaign staff, to answer a series of questions Breitbart News directed to her about this Never Trump behavior from her and her staff. She refuses, among other things, to explain what she meant by the term “Trumpkins.” She also refuses to say, now that she is clearly aware her campaign manager and four other senior-level campaign staff — three of whom are director-level — are devout Never Trumpers, whether she will continue to employ them. Vukmir also will not answer whether House Speaker Paul Ryan, who conducted a fundraiser for Vukmir on which one of the Never Trumpers, exposed finance director Mary Beth Gahn, is listed as the point of contact for VIP donors, was made aware of this before. Vukmir also has refused to answer the question about whether she will apologize to others her Never Trump staff criticized, like Donald Trump, Jr. and Sean Hannity.
But Vukmir did conduct, in response to Breitbart News’ original story on Monday, tweet this on Monday evening:
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) July 30, 2018
And she appeared on Fox Business Channel with Stuart Varney on Tuesday, who pressed her on whether she supports the president. In the video appearance, she lied again:
— Leah Vukmir (@LeahVukmir) July 31, 2018
Specifically, Vukmir claimed that she has “always’ stood with Trump.
“I have always been there with him, I have stood with him, I continue to stand with him,” Vukmir said, leaving out when she refused to endorse Trump after he became the likely nominee for president.