Happy Wednesday Morning!
Well, not if you’re a Never Trumper…
The results in last night’s elections left Trump skeptics and Trump opponents within the Republican Party at a loss for words.
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) lost his re-election campaign last night, after President Donald Trump endorsed his opponent, Katie Arrington. Arrington took 51 percent of the vote to Sanford’s 47 percent.
Trump attacked Sanford with only 3 hours remaining in the South Carolina primary elections. “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA,” the president tweeted. “He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love.”
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2018
Trump’s “Argentina” reference referred to Sanford’s affair with an Argentine journalist. While Sanford was governor of South Carolina, he disappeared for several days, telling aides he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, while really spending time in South America with his mistress.
Sanford voted with Trump 73.1 percent of the time, but he did not vote for Trump in 2016. He attacked Trump following the Access Hollywood comments. While he supported many of the president’s policies, Sanford has warned against his steel and aluminum tariffs, calling them “disastrous.” Worst, Sanford said the president was “partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed” in the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Sanford resigned as governor in 2011 after acknowledging his extramarital affair, but staged a comeback in 2013, winning the House seat in the district he had once represented for six years.
Also on Tuesday afternoon, Trump endorsed Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who won the Republican primary for governor. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), whom Trump also endorsed, similarly won his re-election primary, while Danny Tarkanian — the man Trump convinced to drop out of that Senate race — won his own House primary.
In an election that could be considered a victory for Trump, Corey Stewart won the Republican primary for the Virginia U.S. Senate race. Stewart defeated former Green Beret Nick Freitas, despite endorsements Freitas received from Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, the NRA, and others.
While Stewart’s bombastic style — and his uncompromising defense of Confederate monuments — echoes Trump, Stewart was actually fired from the Trump campaign in Virginia, for protesting the Republican National Committee (RNC), which he claimed had insufficiently supported Trump.
Stewart not only opposed the effort to remove Confederate monuments, he also defended the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia as “a symbol of heritage,” as opposed to a symbol of slavery or racism. He hosted a rally in front of Confederate flags. At this rally, Stewart had Jason Kessler speak. Kessler later became infamous as an organizer of the white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
Stewart also paid Paul Nehlen — a provocateur whose antics verge on white supremacy — $759 as a “fundraising commission” during Stewart’s 2017 bid for Virginia’s governorship. Video later surfaced showing Stewart praising Nehlen during Trump’s inauguration weekend. In that video, Stewart called Nehlen one of his “personal heroes,” and said he was “inspired” by Nehlen’s challenge to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).
Little more than a week before the primary, Stewart told The Washington Post that he no longer considers Nehlen a hero. “That was before he went nuts and started spewing a bunch of stupid stuff,” Stewart said. “When he started saying all that crazy stuff, I wanted nothing to do with him after that.”
Erick Fernandez described Stewart’s 2017 campaign as “white supremacist,” and declared that his victory in the Virginia Senate primary demonstrated that “The GOP is a white supremacist party.”
Others suggested similar interpretations.
Even so, many Republicans denounced Stewart, even if it means ensuring that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) would win re-election.
I am a Virginia Republican. I’ve been a conservative all of my life.
Let me be clear: I will never vote for Corey Stewart. He is not a conservative. He does not embody what it means to be a Virginia Republican.
And because of all of this, Tim Kaine will win again in November.
— Autumn Johnson (@AutumnDPJohnson) June 13, 2018
Expect a great deal of Republican soul-searching on this one.
The Trump-Kim summit.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump revealed the details of his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Trump and Kim signed a document in which the North Korean dictator pledged himself to nuclear disarmament and Trump pledged to ease U.S. policies against him.
“I do trust him, yeah,” the president said of Kim Jong-Un. “He’s de-nuking the whole place.”
Trump added that he and the dictator “developed a very special bond.”
Many commentators have suggested that Kim got more out of the summit than Trump did, but the meeting itself marked a historic move toward peace and cooperation, even if the deal falls apart.
Various Congressmen have demanded “complete, verifiable, irreversible” denuclearization before any sanctions would be lifted. Given the recent evidence that the Iran Deal involved giving Iran access to the American financial system in response for unverified promises of denuclearization — and horrific lies from the Obama administration to Congress and the American people — such demands are eminently reasonable.
The summit itself marked an historic move toward peace, and promised to mark Donald Trump as a great diplomatic president, but the verdict is still out.
Picture of the day.
Eighteen years ago today, leaders of North Korea and South Korea met for the first time in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.