In a devious move that was strange even for him, Donald Trump crossed up all the Republicans and political observers waiting for him to make an endorsement in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary in Missouri. On Monday morning, he teased a pending endorsement in the race. On Monday evening, he announced that he was endorsing… “ERIC”.
Depending on how you look at it, this is either a clever or weaselly way of endorsing two candidates in the same race who happen to have the same first name: current front-runner and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and former Governor (and one-time front-runner) Eric Greitens. Trump has played with the idea of multiple endorsements before, but he probably never had the opportunity of just endorsing a partial name and leaving the rest to MAGA voters.
You can see why this particular race led him to make this non-decision. Greitens has modeled everything about his harsh “outsider” political persona on the 45th president. And his group of advisors conspicuously features Kimberly Guilfoyle, the extremely loud former Fox News personality who is engaged to Trump’s eldest son. Greitens is also by most accounts a nasty piece of work who was forced to resign the Missouri governorship in 2018 after being snared in allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, and who has lost altitude in the current race after his ex-wife accused him of physically abusing her and their child. That probably doesn’t trouble Trump, but his sinking poll numbers are another matter. And so if, as expected, the other Eric wins, Trump can claim his (so far) unbeaten record in 2022 Senate primaries is intact. Even — or especially — if he had to cheat.
There is a third candidate with a different first name who has looked somewhat competitive in this race: congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, but Trump contemptuously dismissed her candidacy early last month.
After Trump’s announcement, it didn’t take long for each Eric to add a last name and claim the endorsement as their own:
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