Trump Gives Maness What-For At RLC

We’re going to do a full RLC report on Sunday which will focus on a lot of the more interesting behind-the-scenes stuff rather than what is said at the podium (you can get that stuff everywhere), but we had to drop this bomb.

Because Donald Trump decided to insert himself into the Senate race in Louisiana today, and in doing so probably made himself more enemies than friends.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Trump said he was approached by the Rob Maness campaign for his support, and he said his answer was no. In fact, he ripped into Maness and said he shouldn’t be in the race. Pointing to polls showing Maness with seven percent of the vote, Trump said he’s doing damage.

“One hundred percent of that 7 percent is coming from your candidate,” Trump said, meaning that Maness’ votes are votes Bill Cassidy should be getting.

That’s a statement which is probably counterproductive, since insulting Maness for his candidacy also insults the people who have chosen to support him – and while nobody would expect Cassidy to be as vociferous as Trump in making such demands there will doubtless be some number of Maness supporters who’ll be sufficiently alienated by Trump’s statements as to now be predisposed to stay home in December should Maness not make the runoff.

But Trump wasn’t done.

“My advice is, prior to the election, you gotta get these people together. You can’t have somebody taking eight percent of the vote who’s a conservative,” he said. “I know you think you’re going to take that eight percent and win an election, but that’s not what history shows.”

In other words, a demand that Maness get out.

Trump didn’t explain why he thinks Maness has to quit in light of the fact that there’s a jungle primary in Louisiana complete with a runoff, and if Maness doesn’t make the runoff he’s forced to quit. His statement seems needlessly hostile, but that’s probably not a surprise.

He did say one thing nobody at RLC would quibble with, though: “The Republicans have to win. I’m a very conservative person, but Republicans have to win.”

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