by Gabe Kaminsky
Former President Donald Trump is ruling out the idea of endorsing Republican Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler in her Senate bid and praised one of her “controversial” primary opponents.
Trump made the Hartzler comments Friday evening on Truth Social, his social media platform. He later joined One America News on Friday and called Eric Greitens, the former governor, “a little controversial” but “tough” and “smart.”
“You can forget about Vicky Hartzler for Senate from the Great State of Missouri,” said Trump on Truth Social. “She called me this morning asking for my Endorsement, much as she has on many other occasions. I was anything but positive in that I don’t think she has what it takes to take on the Radical Left Democrats, together with their partner in the destruction of our Country, the Fake News Media, and, of course, the deceptive & foolish RINOS.”
Greitens has faced wide scrutiny for releasing an ad called “RINO hunting,” referring to the commonly used phrase “Republicans In Name Only.” The ad depicts Greitens and people dressed in military gear breaking into a home and then the candidate saying, “Join the MAGA crew, get a RHINO hunting permit.”
A June Trafalgar poll found Hartzler is narrowly leading Greitens, the former governor of Missouri, and also Attorney General Eric Schmitt. Schmitt garnered 22.8% of voter support, Greitens earned 23.5% and Hartzler received 24% of support.
The margin of error for the poll was 2.9% and 17% of respondents were undecided. 1,000 people were polled.
“I was very nice to Vicky on the call, but will NOT BE ENDORSING HER FOR THE SENATE!” he also said.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who is often regarded as a populist, endorsed Hartzler in February. Hawley and Hartzler notably co-bylined an article three days before his endorsement arguing that stock trading should be banned among members of Congress.
“Vicky is someone who I’m confident has the integrity, the character and the toughness to do this job,” Hawley said in his endorsement.
A spokesman for Trump did not respond to a request for comment. Campaigns for Greitens, Hartzler and Schmitt did not either.
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Gabe Kaminsky is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Eric Greitens” by Eric Greitens. Photo “Vicky Hartzler” by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Martin Falbisoner. CC BY-SA 3.0.