Trump allies warn GOP candidates not to fake his endorsement: 'It could totally backfire'
Donald Trump (AFP)

Donald Trump's allies are cracking down on Republican candidates who are faking the former president's endorsement.

GOP candidates have been showing off photos of themselves with the twice-impeached one-term president or other suggestions they've got Trump's backing, but he and his allies have been aggressively calling out some of them for implying an endorsement, reported Politico.

"Lots of candidates pretend to have the support of President Trump, most are full of sh*t," said former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. "You will know when President Trump endorses someone."

Trump's team has sent cease-and-desist letters in the past year to everyone from former attorney general Jeff Sessions to candidates for county attorney, but the problem has gotten worse since he left the White House.

"I would warn people against claiming endorsements from anyone without authorization," said Rob Gleason, a former Pennsylvania GOP chairman and a close Trump ally. "When and if President Trump endorses anyone, it will be very unmistakable."

Trump loves being courted by candidates, his advisers say, and he's spent much of his post-presidency hosting them at his Mar-a-Lago estate and Bedminster golf course, but they warn that faking his endorsement could prove disastrous.

"Until a candidate gets an official statement from President Trump, whether in writing, video or audio, they do not have the official endorsement," said Trump pollster John McLaughlin. "It's dishonest. If proven, it could totally backfire."