President Trump is strongly encouraging Morgan Ortagus to run for Congress in the race for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District but the former Trump Administration State Department spokesman has had strong words for him in the past.
When she was a spokesman for a super PAC supporting the Jeb Bush 2016 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, Morgan Ortagus expressed on MSNBC that she was unsure if she would vote for him if he were to become the Republican nominee.
During a January 2016 interview on Alan Colmes’ radio show, Ortagus touted that Governor Bush was the only one to call out then-candidate Trump during a previous debate. She proceeded to lambast the former president, saying, “You have somebody who makes fun of people with mental and physical disabilities. That’s disgusting; there’s no other way around it.”
She also added during the interview, “Quite frankly, I don’t want someone with the temperament of a middle school pubescent boy in the president’s office.”
In an op-ed written for Fox Business in March of 2016, she wrote, “People know Trump isn’t serious.”
During a panel appearance on Fox Business in April of 2016, Morgan Ortagus said of Trump’s approach to foreign policy, “I don’t see it that way. I think that America is the glue that holds the world together. … So there were points that I agreed with him today, but overall, I fundamentally disagree with his isolationist approach to foreign policy.”
All of these comments occurred during Ortagus’ work as a spokesman for a super PAC that supported Jeb Bush during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.
Those previous statements appear to be water under the bridge for President Trump and Ortagus’ relationship. Ortagus went on to serve in the Trump Administration as a spokesman for the State Department from 2019 to 2021. It was also reported that President Trump issued the following statement on Morgan Ortagus’ potential candidacy:
I am told the very strong and impressive Morgan Ortagus is exploring a run for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. I couldn’t be happier because she’s an absolute warrior for America First and MAGA! Morgan was fantastic in her role working with Secretary Mike Pompeo at the U.S. State Department and understands the threats posed by China, Russia, Iran and others, and will be tough, not just roll over like the Democrats and RINOs. She serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves and will fight for our Military. She won’t bow to the Woke Mob or the Leftist LameStream Media. Morgan Ortagus will have my Complete and Total Endorsement if she decides to run!
The Tennessee Star reported that Morgan Ortagus apparently moved to Tennessee less than a year ago, in February 2021. Sources have told The Star that Ortagus did not register to vote in Tennessee until November of 2021, and that her listed residence may be outside the lines of the newly redrawn boundaries for the 5th Congressional District.
Robby Starbuck, Natisha Brooks, and Quincy McKnight have publicly announced, although neither Brooks nor McKnight have made much mention of a possible bid for the now-open seat recently. Other potential candidates who have expressed interest in running include Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, and retired Tennessee National Guard Brigadier General Kurt Winstead.
More candidates may come forward in this competitive primary. The first day to pick up qualifying petitions to run in the primary the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee is Monday, February 7, 2022. The deadline to turn in those petitions in is Thursday, April 7, 2022 at noon.
The Tennessee GOP primary will be held in August 2022.
The Tennessee Secretary of State’s website states the petitions requirements, “The nominating petition must be signed by at least twenty-five (25) voters who are registered in the candidate’s district, and the candidate. The signature of the candidate does not count towards the required twenty-five (25) signatures. Each voter who signs the petition must also supply his or her residential address as it appears on his or her voter registration records.”
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Morgan Ortagus” by U.S. Embassy. Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “United States Capitol” by David Maiolo. CC BY-SA 3.0.