After Kentucky’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear pulled off an upset victory over Trump-endorsed Gov. Matt Bevin (R) on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump and his conservative allies performed Olympic-level verbal gymnastics to argue that Bevin’s defeat actually proved Trump’s “political star power.”
On the eve of Kentucky’s statewide elections, Trump flew down to Bevin’s campaign rally in Lexington in an effort to rescue the deeply unpopular governor in the toss-up race, where the President warned supporters that Bevin’s loss would send “a really bad message.”
“You can’t let that happen to me!” cried Trump, who won Kentucky by over 30 points in 2016.
But it did happen to him, and now Trump and other conservatives are desperately spinning Bevin’s loss as a win for Trump, claiming that the President’s appearance helped tighten the margin in the race, even if Bevin ultimately lost.
Trump baselessly claimed Bevin was eating Beshear’s dust in the polls before the President showed up at Bevin’s rally and magically boosted him to a paper-thin loss margin of 48.8 percent to Beshear’s 49.2 percent.
“Our big Kentucky Rally on Monday night had a massive impact on all of the races,” Trump tweeted at midnight on Tuesday. “The increase in Governors race was at least 15 points, and maybe 20!”
Our big Kentucky Rally on Monday night had a massive impact on all of the races. The increase in Governors race was at least 15 points, and maybe 20! Will be in Louisiana for @EddieRispone on Wednesday night. Big Rally!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2019
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel gave an even more generous figure, claiming that Bevin was down 17 points.
“No one energizes our base like @realDonaldTrump,” she gushed.
Fox News personality Laura Ingraham heaped praise upon Trump for supposedly making the race “as competitive as you can possibly make it.”
“That is the power of Donald Trump,” she declared.
Laura Ingraham's take on the Kentucky elections must be seen to be believed: "That is the power of Donald Trump… This is all very good news for Republicans." pic.twitter.com/EYbB9hp4FE
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) November 6, 2019
John Cardillo, a host for conservative outlet Newsmax TV, regurgitated other conservatives’ claim that Trump had saved Bevin from crushing defeat with his “political star power.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale had a more creative take: Beshear’s victory isn’t even really a win for Democrats because he “acts like a Republican” (despite the governor-elect’s promises to gut Bevin’s Medicaid work requirements and raise Kentucky teachers’ pay, along with his refusal to defend the state’s anti-abortion laws as Kentucky’s attorney general).
“Talk about Kentucky when an actual Democrat runs,” Parscale complained.
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