Former President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he is withdrawing his endorsement of Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who is running in the Republican Alabama Senate primary to replace the retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.
Trump cited Brooks’ lagging poll and fundraising numbers, as well as his campaign’s lack of focus on alleged voter fraud during the 2020 election. A key Trump ally in the House, Brooks spoke at the Jan. 6, 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally, which immediately preceded the Capitol riot. (RELATED: These Are The Most Important Senate Races In 2022)
“When I endorsed Mo Brooks, he took a 44-point lead and was unstoppable. He then hired a new campaign staff who ‘brilliantly’ convinced him to ‘stop talking about the 2020 Election.’ He listened to them,” Trump said in a statement.
“Very sad but, since he decided to go in another direction, so have I, and I am hereby withdrawing my Endorsement of Mo Brooks for the Senate,” he concluded, adding that he would endorse another candidate in the “near future.”
Former President Trump withdraws his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks in Alabama Senate race. Brooks’ sin, as cited by Trump? Saying of the 2020 presidential election, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you.’ A ‘horrible mistake,’ according to Trump. pic.twitter.com/KtE8b0sIjP
— Byron York (@ByronYork) March 23, 2022
In initial surveys of the race, Brooks held a large lead over Katie Boyd Britt, Shelby’s former chief of staff who the retiring senator has vowed to support. Brooks led the primary as late as December 2021, with more than 30% support. However, two polls released in March, including one released Tuesday, showed Brooks in third place, behind Britt and businessman and former Army helicopter pilot Mike Durant. Both recent polls showed Brooks with less than 20% support.
In addition to flagging poll numbers, Brooks is third among the three major candidates in total cash raised and on hand, according to OpenSecrets. Shelby has said that he will transfer up to $6 million to a Super PAC that supports Britt, although he has not done so yet.
The Brooks campaign blamed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for Trump’s decision to rescind the endorsement.
“It’s disappointing that, just like in 2017, President Trump lets Mitch McConnell manipulate him again. Every single negative TV ad against our campaign has come from McConnell and his allies. I wish President Trump wouldn’t fall for McConnell’s ploys, but, once again, he has,” the campaign said in a statement.
“Katie Britt’s campaign is supported and funded by McConnell allies, and she’s still a high taxing, open borders, cheap foreign labor, Chamber of Commerce lobbyist,” it continued, describing Brooks as the “only proven America First candidate” in the race.
Trump also expressed anger that Brooks has not continued to focus on alleged voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, calling the candidate “woke” for comments made at an August 2021 rally. Trump won Alabama by nearly 26 points, and significant voter fraud was not found in the four states that Trump mentioned in his statement.
“There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you,” Brooks said at the time. “Look forward.”
Trump had reportedly considered pulling his endorsement for months and telegraphed the decision in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner.
“I’ll have to find out what he means,” Trump told David Drucker on March 15 of Brooks’ rally comments.
“I would have no problem changing [my endorsement] because when you endorse somebody, you endorse somebody based on principle. If he changed that principle, I would have no problem doing that,” the former president added.
The Brooks campaign added that “Jan. 6 was the final election contest verdict,” and that Congress could not “rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency,” as Trump had asked the candidate.