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In Alabama’s Senate race, contenders fight over who is Trump’s biggest fan



At first glance, U.S. Representative Mo Brooks seems exactly the kind of candidate President Donald Trump would love to see win Tuesday’s Republican primary election for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat.

The 63-year-old Republican is a Freedom Caucus member and an immigration hardliner who calls opponent Luther Strange “Lying Luther,” echoing Trump’s penchant for bestowing insulting nicknames on his political foes. Strange, 64, is the former state attorney general who was appointed to fill the Senate seat left vacant after Jeff Sessions became U.S. attorney general.

“Trump would like to drain the swamp; Brooks would like to blow it up,” said Larry Powell, a professor of communication at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “But their goals are the same.”

Yet it was Strange, not Brooks, who earned a coveted prize last week in a race that could measure Trump’s influence in a state he carried easily in last year’s election, despite recent indications that his support among Republicans may be softening.

Trump took to Twitter to offer Strange his “complete and total endorsement.”


The tweet came as something of a surprise. Known as “Big Luther” thanks to his 6-foot-9-inch (2.1-meter) frame, Strange has a close alliance with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is under fire from Trump for failing to push his agenda through Congress and refusing to eliminate a filibuster that gives Democrats veto power over many key bills. Strange agrees the filibuster should remain in place.

In a telephone interview, Brooks noted that Trump followed his endorsement of Strange with a barrage of Twitter criticisms aimed at McConnell, which Brooks called “extraordinarily baffling.”

“Any Alabama voter who wants to see President Trump’s legislative agenda pass the United States Senate would be much better served to vote for Mo Brooks than Luther Strange,” Brooks said. “President Trump’s entire legislative agenda is dead so long as the Senate’s 60-percent rule requires President Trump to get the consent of Democrat leader Chuck Schumer to pass it.”


Both Brooks and Strange may be losing to the third viable candidate in the nine-way race. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, 70, has led in several voter surveys, though polling in the race has been limited.

The Moore and Strange campaigns did not respond to requests for comment.

Assuming no candidate reaches 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will go head-to-head in late September, with the winner a heavy favorite against whoever emerges from the Democratic primary.



For weeks, Strange and Brooks have lobbed attacks at one another as insufficiently committed to Trump.

Advertisements from supporters of Strange highlighted Brooks’ endorsement of Texas Senator Ted Cruz for president last year, as well as criticism Brooks made of Trump at the time.


Brooks, a founder of the House of Representatives’ far-right Freedom Caucus who survived the shooting attack on Congress members at a softball practice in June, has fired back by attacking Strange for his close ties to Senate leadership.

Strange and Brooks have largely ignored Moore, though Strange backers have run some anti-Moore ads in recent days.

“I think both assume that Moore is going to make the runoff, and whoever gets to the runoff will likely beat him,” Powell said.


Moore made his name in 2003 by refusing a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building and losing his position.

After winning another term in 2013, he was suspended in 2016 and later resigned after directing state judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court and continue to enforce a ban on same-sex marriage.

The former judge is popular among religious conservatives but had trouble expanding his base in previous campaigns for governor.


Each contender would likely serve as a reliable Republican vote in the Senate, with little daylight between their policy positions.

“All three of these candidates are different intensities of the same flavor,” said Steven Taylor, a political science professor at Troy University in Alabama.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Lisa Shumaker)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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George Conway declares ‘Trump is a racist president’ in brutal Washington Post column



Prominent Republican attorney George Conway blasted President Donald Trump in an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Monday evening.

Conway explained how he avoided thinking of Trump as a racist, despite the president's actions.

"No, I thought, President Trump was boorish, dim-witted, inarticulate, incoherent, narcissistic and insensitive. He’s a pathetic bully but an equal-opportunity bully — in his uniquely crass and crude manner, he’ll attack anyone he thinks is critical of him. No matter how much I found him ultimately unfit, I gave still him the benefit of the doubt about being a racist. No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot," he explained.

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Professor reminds Trump of his two immigrant wives: ‘Four of his five children are children of immigrants’



As President Donald Trump complains about immigrants, he should remember his own family, Fordham Professor Christina Greer explained on MSNBC on Monday.

"Mind you, he's a child of immigrants and twice married to two immigrants, right? Four of his five children are children of immigrants, but he has to use this rhetoric to make sure that he can frame all of his failures in a way that it’s never him and it’s always someone else who is taking away from the good, 'white Americans' who deserve to be here," Greer explained.

In 1977, Trump became the second husband of Ivana Zelní?ková -- who was born in Czechoslovakia. She is the mother of Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump.

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Racism drives Trump ‘like rocket fuel’ — but even for him, this is ‘shocking and disgraceful’: WaPo journalist



On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick told anchor Wolf Blitzer that there's nothing truly new about President Donald Trump's racist social media assaults on Democratic congresswomen of color — but that there is something uniquely horrible about the latest episode.

"People are suggesting what the president has said in the past day or two represents a new low," said Blitzer. "But when you look at the president's history ... the president claiming Barack Obama wasn't born here in the United States, his comments about Charlottesville. This clearly isn't a one-off."

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