Donald Trump really, really didn’t want anyone in his administration to support Roy Moorethat is, until he supported Roy Moore.
The president appeared at a disastrous rally in support of Alabama primary hopeful Luther Strange on Sept. 22, one that Michael Wolff painstakingly details in his just-released exposé, Fire and Fury. Wolff claims Trump delivered a rambling diatribe to the Huntsville crowd, even by the president’s standards, in which he pledged to “fire anybody on his Cabinet who supported Moore.”
Response among the audience was “muted,” Wolff writes.
The biggest applause the president drew during the speech was a non-sequitur attack on former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who controversially took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. What Wolff describes as a “desperate” ploy for applause worked: The callout earned his first standing ovation of the day.
“The president thereupon promptly abandoned Luther Strange for the rest of the speech,” the author writes.
Just five days after that rally, Moore won the Republican nomination in Alabama’s runoff elections, beating his opponent by nine points. Strange, the former Alabama Attorney General, was the favorite of the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C.including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellto fill Jeff Sessions’ vacated seat in the Senate.
But despite claiming he would sack anyone on his team who backed Moore, Trump abandoned Strange for the second time in the last week.
On Dec. 4, the president called to offer one of the nation’s most anti-LGBTQ politicians his official endorsement. Trump’s deputy campaign manager, Hannah Ford, claimed at the time that the Commander-in-Chief referred to Moore as a “fighter” during their phone conversation.
“Go get ’em, Roy!” Trump reportedly whooped in the call.
The president would appear at a campaign event in support of Moore in the days leading up to the election, telling Alabama Republicans to “get out and vote for Roy Moore.”
But following Moore’s surprise defeat in the Dec. 12 special election, the POTUS changed his tune once more. The conservative, who was accused by nine women of sexual misconduct during the race, lost by 1.5 percentage points to opponent Doug Jones.
In a feat of circular logic, the president reportedly blamed other prominent Republicans for the loss, including McConnell and former advisor Steve Bannon. He even pointed the finger at Sessions for stepping down from the Senate to take the Attorney General job, a position which Trump himself offered him.
Jones, a former prosecutor with an openly gay son, is the first Alabama Democrat to be elected to the Senate in 25 years. Moore, meanwhile, thinks homosexuality should be a crime and that same-sex marriage is “worse” than slavery.
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