Trump Hedges Missouri Senate GOP Primary Endorsement on ‘Eric’

Trump Hedges Missouri Senate GOP Primary Endorsement on 'Eric' Trump Hedges Missouri Senate GOP Primary Endorsement on 'Eric'

Former President Donald Trump has hedged his endorsement in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Missouri, saying only that he is backing ''Eric.'' The field of candidates includes state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, the front-runner, and former Gov. Eric Greitens as well as GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler. (Kenneth Ferriera/Lincoln Journal Star via AP, File)

By Eric Mack | Monday, 01 August 2022 07:48 PM EDT

With Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt leading the polls before Tuesday's GOP Senate primary voting closes, former President Donald Trump has come out with his most unusual endorsement yet.

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who drew criticism for his campaign ad calling for voters to go "RINO hunting," is also in the race, and Trump left the door open for both candidates named Eric to stake their claim to the coveted Trump endorsement with just 24 hours remaining in the race.

Both candidates came out quickly on Twitter to hail receiving Trump's blessing.

Trump has been 137-10 (93%) on his midterm primary endorsements to date, including a perfect 13-0 in his senatorial endorsements to date.

"There is a big election in the Great State of Missouri, and we must send a MAGA champion and true warrior to the U.S. Senate, someone who will fight for border security, election integrity, our military and great veterans, together with having a powerful toughness on crime and the border," Trump wrote in his Save America PAC statement posted to Truth Social, without saying who that candidate is.

"We need a person who will not back down to the radical-left lunatics who are destroying our country. I trust the great people of Missouri, on this one, to make up their own minds, much as they did when they gave me landslide victories in the 2016 and 2020 elections, and I am therefore proud to announce that ERIC has my complete and total endorsement!"

It is ostensibly another example of Trump saying "I will leave you in suspense," the famed line from 2016 presidential debate with Hillary Clinton about whether he would relent to a peaceful transfer of power. The debate question was a curious one, considering that Trump was not yet in the White House at the time of that campaign.

Greitens quickly came out to accept Trump's statement as an endorsement for him.

"Honored to have the support of President Trump! We will MAGA!" Greitens tweeted with a photo of Trump and announcement of his endorsement.

"I'm honored to receive President Trump's endorsement," he added in an ensuing tweet. "From the beginning, I've been the true MAGA champion fighting against the RINO establishment backing Schmitt.

"President Trump said it best when he characterized Schmitt's campaign as 'great dishonesty in politics.'"

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., responded via Twitter to acknowledge Greitens as a "great endorsement."

Schmitt's campaign followed suit in hailing Trump's endorsement, too.

"BREAKING: Donald Trump endorses Eric Schmitt for Senate," the tweet read. "Stand with Trump and vote for proven conservative Eric Schmitt tomorrow."

Trump campaign 2020 pollster Jim McLaughlin told Newsmax's "Rob Schmitt Tonight" that the hedged endorsement was the former president having some fun and leaving the election up to Republican voters in Missouri.

McLaughlin also noted the polls are showing Schmitt as the front-runner and likely to win Tuesday night's final vote.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., was running second or third in the polling, but was shut out of Trump's two-sided endorsement.

Original Article