Trump kept Missouri Senate candidates in the dark that they were both getting his endorsement
Donald Trump (Photo by Saul Loeb for AFP)

According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump's last-second endorsement in the heated Missouri race for the GOP Senate nomination played out in a bizarre fashion that ended with the former president endorsing the two top candidates for the same job -- but keeping them in the dark about his hedged bet.

Late Monday, the former president issued a statement saying he was pleased to endorse "Eric" -- without specifying if it was either the GOP-supported Eric Schmitt or controversial former governor Eric Greitens.

As Politico reports, Trump announced in the morning that an endorsement was forthcoming and then spent the day at his Bedminster golf resort pressing associates for advice.

On Schmitt's side were Republican National Committee head Ronna Romney McDaniel and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who served as his main supporters. In the case of scandal-plagued Greitens, Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox News contributor and current girlfriend of Don Trump Jr., was his fiercest advocate.

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As the report from Politico's Alex Isenstadt notes, Trump lost patience with the advice he was being given and finally suggested endorsing both and checked to see if their first names were spelled the same so it would work.

What followed, after the statement was drawn up, was the former president calling Schmitt to tell him he had his endorsement, adding, "You’ll be happy.”

"What the former president didn’t say, according to two people familiar with the conversation, is that the press release would simultaneously back Schmitt and his rival for the GOP nomination, Eric Greitens. Greitens received a similar call in which Trump congratulated him on the endorsement and made no mention that he also endorsed Schmitt, Missouri’s state attorney general," the report states.

The report also notes that the former president is also worried about the potential Democratic nominee for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Roy Blount (R).

"People familiar with Trump’s thinking say concerns surrounding Greitens’ past controversies weighed on his decision not to offer a full endorsement of Greitens. At one point on Monday, they said, Trump pointed out that Greitens might face Trudy Busch Valentine, a wealthy Democratic candidate, in the general election. Busch is heir to the Anheuser-Busch brewing fortune," Politico is reporting, adding that the former president reportedly stated, "She’s not the weak Bush family. She’s the strong Busch family.”

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