Roy Moore’s supporters say Trump took wrong turn with Luther Strange endorsement
Wash Exam ^ | Sep 23, 2017 | David M. Drucker
Posted on 9/23/2017, 11:12:39 PM by upchuck
McINTOSH, Ala. — Roy Moore’s supporters rallied on Saturday amid bluegrass music, pulled pork and “Make America Great Again” hats, lamenting what they view as the wrong turn their beloved President Trump took with his endorsement of Sen. Luther Strange.
Moore’s loyal backers gathered in rural southwestern Alabama ahead of Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff in this closely watched special election less than 24 hours after Trump stumped for Strange to the north in Huntsville, expressing their disappointment and vowing it would make little difference in the outcome.
Moore has led Strange, appointed to the Senate after Jeff Sessions resigned to become U.S. attorney general, in most public opinion polls. Sherri Martin, a middle-aged Moore supporter from Mobile, expects that advantage to hold, saying she’s a big fan of the president but was disappointed that he didn’t see this race the way she does.
“I felt it was misplaced, and he was misguided,” Martin said of Trump’s endorsement, as the crowd of about 300 who turned out to see the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court of Mobile enjoyed a blue grass band and polished off plates of pulled pork, baked beans, and corn bread.
“Maybe he’s just trying to fit in a little bit, trying to work both sides,” Martin said, saying the president’s decision to go with the so-called “establishment” candidate bothers her “a little bit.” She added: “He will have a quick learning curve on this one.”
Trump has been popular in Alabama since early in the 2016 presidential campaign, and Republicans here comprise the bedrock of his electoral base. He still is; in interviews here, his performance in office was praised and most said that they did not think less of him for backing Strange.
So his endorsement of the 64 year-old senator is considered a major development, even though the seal of approval from high profile Republicans in Washington hasn’t moved the needle much in recent years in GOP primaries.
That’s probably why Moore and his close advisers, many of whom were clad in Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats, were careful not to hammer the president too hard for backing Strange.
Instead, they targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., whose affiliated super PAC has spent $9 million to help Strange win the right to finish the six-year term Sessions won in 2014.
“This has been a very hard time, for me, for my family, for my wife to suffer through $30 million, according to MSNBC, of negative ads, attacks, things that were untrue, simply because they want to buy the people of Alabama,” Moore, clad in slacks, a dress shirt with an American flag tie and a cowboy hat, said in brief remarks to the crowd.
“Today, the national media are waiting to see if the people of Alabama will give up their vote to an establishment in Washington,” Moore added, “that does not want to move this country forward, does not want to make progress, does not want to stop illegal aliens, does not want to stop socialized medicine and wants to keep things just like it is so people in Washington can hold on to their power, their prestige and their position.”
Introducing Moore was his close adviser Dean Young who took solace in Trump’s offer to campaign for the judge if he wins on Tuesday, and suggestion during his packed rally in Huntsville on Friday that he might have made a mistake endorsing Strange.
“He was man enough to say that he may have made a mistake,” Young said. “I was also glad to hear that when Judge Moore wins on Tuesday, that he would come back down and help Judge Moore.”