President Donald Trump held a rally Friday in Alabama in support of Sen. Luther Strange, who faces a tough primary battle against an opponent supported by Trump allies.
Trump repeatedly told rally-goers to go out and vote for Strange in Tuesday’s election. However, the president drifted off-topic many times in the more than hour long speech. He wished at one point that NFL team owners would say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field” to players who disrespect the American flag.
The Alabama Senate primary run-off on Tuesday has been the focus of the political world due to its unique circumstances.
The support of Sen. Strange in early August by President Trump came amid feuding between Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A super PAC aligned with McConnell has spent millions backing Strange, a candidate the Republican establishment has rallied behind. However, Trump said repeatedly during the rally that Strange, who has been in the Senate since February, doesn’t really know Sen. McConnell personally.
“He doesn’t know him, he just got there!” Trump said about Strange’s relationship with McConnell.
Strange is facing off against former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore, who has been reliably ahead in the polls. Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been battling in favor of Moore through his outlet Breitbart, which has hit Strange in multiple negative articles, including one Thursday about Strange’s lobbying for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
In addition to Breitbart’s backing, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and other anti-establishment conservative figures have endorsed Moore. The former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate borrowed Trump’s campaign slogans and said Moore is “ready to take on DC’s swamp monsters and help make America great again.”
However, Trump maintained during his speech Friday that “Luther is your man to take on Washington.”
“Luther Strange is determined to drain that swamp,” Trump added.
The president at one point told a story about how he was convinced that Strange was a good guy. Trump said that during the July Republican push for a “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, he was given a list of Republican “no” votes.
He said that most of the senators on the list put him through the “brutal” treatment of making Trump have dinner with their families, but that without asking for any favors, Strange said that he would support the legislation.
Despite the strong praise for Strange, Trump said at one point that he would back Moore if he were to win the primary. Trump even commented that he might of made a “mistake” by endorsing Strange.
Although, Trump maintained that unlike Moore, Strange would have an easy time beating his Democratic opponent in the general election. Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.
Trump even at one point imitated what cable news anchors are going to say if Strange loses.
“They’re not going to say we picked up 25 points in a very short period of time,” Trump remarked. “They’re going to say, ‘Donald Trump, the President of the United States, was unable to pull his candidate across the line. It is a terrible, terrible moment for Trump.'”