According to a report from the Daily Beast, high-level Republican Party members in Alabama would very much like Donald Trump to butt out of a primary in the state that pits former Attorney General Jeff Sessions against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville to be the GOP's candidate for one of the state's two U.S. Senate seats.
With Republicans hoping to reclaim the seat, once held by Sessions and now held by Democrat Doug Jones, officials in the state are being put in an awkward position by the president's plan to come to Sessions' hometown of Mobile to campaign against his former administration official who has long been a part of the GOP establishment in the state.
According to interviews with Republicans in the state, they would prefer Trump stay away and let them work it out amongst themselves.
Noting that Trump is coming to the state to fulfill "the mission of destroying whatever is left of the political career of former attorney general Jeff Sessions," the report points out that Sessions is still a "favorite son" of locals.
"Sessions is locked in a runoff election with former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in hopes of reclaiming the U.S. Senate seat he held for 20 years. Trump, who endorsed Tuberville in March, has never forgiven Sessions for recusing himself from the Trump-Russia investigation while attorney general, and his scheduled Mobile rally is explicitly meant to boost Tuberville’s campaign days before voting begins on July 14," the report states.
Local officials are not happy with the president's plans.
Mobile County GOP head Adam Bourne said he would normally be thrilled by a presidential visit -- but not this one.
"It’s fair to say it’s slightly awkward,” Bourne said in an interview. “It’s a tough situation for a lot of Republicans, who are having to choose between two good people and are having to push through this primary process to get to November.”
Another official was more direct.
Riley Seibenhener, head of the Geneva County GOP, bluntly stated, "I'm pissed off about it.”
“It bothers me that so many people are voting for Tommy Tuberville because Trump doesn't like Sessions,” Seibenhener stated, while adding he felt that Sessions had just been doing the right thing when he recused himself from the Justice Department's investigation into the president.
According to Matt Simpson, a Mobile-area state lawmaker who has already endorsed Sessions, he may just skip the president's rally.
"You have an opportunity to see the president here… Anytime you can have him down here, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for the state of Alabama,” he told the Beast before adding, "As far as whether or not I’ll attend. I don’t know if I’ll attend that rally.”
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