Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno is taking a page from Senate predecessors Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio: dismiss and insult Donald Trump in 2016, then cozy up to him to make gains during your campaign.
As NBC News reports, Moreno wrote in an email exchange with GOP officials asking if he’d like to met RNC leader Reince Priebus in 2016, “If Donald Trump is nominated, I will consider that a hostile take over and no longer associate myself with THAT, new GOP.”
He followed that up with another email reply a month after the 2016 presidential election, when Republican officials asked him to contribute his leftover campaign funds to help other GOP candidates. “Given that I see a future where trump [sic] is the leader of what used to be my party, I’ve sidelined myself,” Moreno replied. “I will support individual candidates, but can’t support a party led by that maniac.”
Moreno continued to financially support Republican rivals of Trump, including Paul Ryan’s PAC and Anthony Gonzalez, a GOP Ohio Congressman who is the target of Trump’s ire because Gonzalez supported Trump’s impeachment. Moreno’s daughter worked for the Trump campaign in 2020, to which Moreno once explained, “We have a vigorous debate at home about politics, and my daughter works on the Trump campaign. That doesn’t mean that I support the Trump campaign.”
Now, however, the car dealer and blockchain investor who’s running to replace Senator Rob Portman, who’s retiring, is firmly in Trump’s corner, like Cruz and Rubio, who first demeaned Trump and Trump’s candidacy. Trump, Moreno sumisses, is someone he needs to win the primary.
Moreno showed up at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club to suck up to wealthy GOP donors; he was escorted out of the event because he wasn’t considered a “high-dollar” donor. He’s put Trump’s image in campaign material and cited Trump in his speeches.
His two main primary opponents–neither of whom supported Trump in the 2016 Republican primary–did, however, throw their support to Trump in 2016’s general election and in 2020. Moreno may be too late to the Party.