- Trump had a “trainee” meeting with four Republican Senate candidates from Ohio.
- All the candidates did their best to demonstrate their loyalty to the former president.
- A possible endorsement of Trump could give a candidate a huge advantage among Republican voters.
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Former President Donald Trump may be far from his old New York boardroom, but on Wednesday he gave four Republican Senate candidates from Ohio the kind of barbecue described in his long-running TV series “The Apprentice.” , according to Politico.
Before a fundraiser at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump had the candidates (former state treasurer Josh Mandel, former GOP chairwoman Jane Timken, investment banker Mike Gibbons and businessman Bernie Moreno) will sit together for a meeting in the back room.
All four Republicans will run for the open seat in the Ohio Senate in 2022, which will be vacated by two-term Republican Senator Rob Portman at the end of his term.
All of the candidates were in Florida to attend the event for Max Miller, a Trump-backed candidate seeking to oust Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez in a primary and win the general election in Ohio’s heavily Republican 16th Congressional District.
Gonzalez was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in February for “inciting insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
As the candidates spoke to guests during the pre-dinner reception, one of Trump’s aides informed the candidates that the former president wanted to speak with them in private.
When everyone was gathered, the meeting turned into a total of 15 minutes of attacks and statements to show loyalty to the former president, according to the report.
Read more: A Trump-appointed prosecutor caught Biden’s Justice Department by surprise with a ’60 minute ‘interview on the cases of riot on Capitol Hill. Now a federal judge wants to talk about it.
Mandel, who previously ran for Senate in 2012 and was defeated by Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, reportedly said he was “crushing” Timken in the polls, while Timken bragged about his grassroots support while leading the state party.
Gibbons reminded Trump of his donations to the former president’s campaign, while Moreno claimed that his daughter was part of the Trump 2020 campaign team.
With Trump planning to play an active role in the 2022 midterm elections, an endorsement could push away the career of a particular candidate, with everyone openly competing with each other for the former president’s support.
A person familiar with the meeting told Politico that the event was like “The Hunger Games,” the dystopian trilogy of books and feature films; candidates also had to sit at a circular table facing each other.
When Trump asked the group how the race was going, Timken mentioned that he discussed his job to re-elect the former president.
Trump responded by noting that Timken had initially supported Gonzalez after the congressman voted to impeach him, prompting Timken to say that she “cleaned up” her stance later. Calling the congressman to resign, according to the report.
However, another person familiar with the meeting said Trump was only “joking” with Timken for his earlier comments about Gonzalez.
The biggest source of tension was reportedly between Timken and Mandel, who have already launched their campaigns, while Gibbons and Moreno have yet to formally begin their respective campaigns.
Mandel made a strong push for his candidacy, saying he “hired a bunch of killers” for his campaign team.
“I am a murderer and we are going to win the primaries and then the general,” he would have said.
Trump also showed a high level of interest in Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, whom the former president criticized after the governor referred to President Joe Biden as “president-elect” after the 2020 election was called last year.
DeWine is up for re-election in 2022.