President Donald Trump has been highlighted as a difference-maker in races across the country in this election cycle. But the president, when given ample opportunity to weigh in on a race in Wyoming, balked, waiting until the last second to make an endorsement.
For several weeks, pundits across the state of Wyoming wondered whether or not the president would throw his support behind longtime ally and Jackson Hole financier Foster Friess in the GOP primary for governor. Privately, Republican strategists grew anxious over the president’s influence should he weigh in on the race, given the successful track record, at least recently, of the candidates he endorses.
When Trump finally did weigh in — on the morning of the election — it may have been too late for Friess. Long in the dark, we now finally have an answer as to why it took him so long: his son, Donald Jr., didn’t remind him to endorse one of his biggest allies in the West in time for it to matter.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a site which Foster Friess was a founding donor to, Trump blamed his son for his late arrival to the race, noting that Friess’ defeat was the sole loss for his endorsed candidates in recent months.
The president’s endorsement came 16 days after his son endorsed Friess in a Star-Tribune guest column that stated “Foster stepped up when we needed him most and made a real difference in my father’s campaign, and for that I will always be grateful.”
It took the younger Trump more than two weeks, however, to remind his father of that fact, according to the president.
“I was asked to do that, by my son Don, and I did it, but I did it, I was asked the morning of,” said Trump in an interview. “And by the time I did it I guess 70 percent, almost 70 percent of the vote was already cast.”
It is unclear where the 70 percent figure comes from. The endorsement tweet was sent at 8:56 a.m. Mountain Time, nearly two hours after polls opened in Wyoming. Though early voting began on July 6 and ended the day before the election, not even state election officials are sure of what percentage of absentee ballots were turned in statewide prior to polls opening. According to the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office, those figures will not be known until Oct. 1.
The president also apparently missed being tagged in a tweet by Friess himself several days before polls opened, the candidate depicted in an image describing him as “pro-gun, pro-life and pro-Trump.”
Apparently, Friess should have tried harder: On Aug. 20, Trump tweeted out endorsements of California gubernatorial candidate John Cox and West Virginia Senate candidate Patrick Morrissey, whom Trump held a rally for the following day. The president also tweeted several hours before the endorsement and was active on Twitter throughout the weekend as a verdict was reached concerning allegations his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had committed tax fraud.