A sweaty President Donald Trump, flanked by the mustachioed stars of “Duck Dynasty,” took to the stage last night to lend his support to Republican Eddie Rispone, the candidate trying to unseat Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in a runoff election.
Trump served up his usual helping of “Democratic hoaxes,” whistleblower “coups” and “deranged” impeachment proceedings to an adoring crowd clad in red hats and bearing signs of “[insert particular demographic] for Trump.”
But despite the all-business-as-usual appearance of the rally, a Kentucky-shaped pall hung over the room as next Saturday’s election inches closer.
Despite his blustering tweets to the contrary, Trump realizes — and even warned before a ballot was cast — that Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) loss to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear Tuesday night was a direct commentary on the limitations of his coattails. Just a day before Kentuckians took to the polls, Trump was giving a similar speech before a similar crowd, endorsing another candidate who crafted himself in the President’s image.
Trump’s reelection campaign put out an extremely odd statement to try to change the narrative from Trump’s inability to help boost a Republican governor over the line in ruby red Kentucky.
“The President just about dragged Gov. Matt Bevin across the finish line, helping him run stronger than expected in what turned into a very close race at the end,” said campaign manager Brad Parscale. “A final outcome remains to be seen.”
In actuality, Trump’s visit may have actually narrowed the slight lead Bevin had heading into the race. Besides being an embarrassing episode for a President who considers himself a kingmaker, Beshear’s apparent win has also bolstered Democrats who fretted that the impeachment inquiry would be costly in political capital. And while the Beshear win may be an outlier in the state — all other Kentucky Republicans running in statewide contests won — Democratic victories in places like the Virginia statehouse and Philadelphia suburbs strengthened that narrative.
Now, Trump has gone all in again. He has another trip planned to Louisiana two days before the runoff election on the 16th, and will attend the barn burner LSU-Alabama game this Saturday — coincidentally, the last day of early voting.