Trump plans Alabama trip next weekend to campaign for Luther Strange

President Trump’s somewhat puzzling enthusiasm for supporting the election bid of Luther Strange in the primary battle he is facing against Judge Roy Moore seems to be increasing. Strange currently holds the vacated Senate seat formerly occupied by Jeff Sessions until a special election can take place in November.

Yesterday, President Trump announced via Twitter thaty he will fly to Huntsville next Saturday to support Strange:

President Trump’s somewhat puzzling enthusiasm for supporting the election bid of Luther Strange in the primary battle he is facing against Judge Roy Moore seems to be increasing. Strange currently holds the vacated Senate seat formerly occupied by Jeff Sessions until a special election can take place in November.

Yesterday, President Trump announced via Twitter thaty he will fly to Huntsville next Saturday to support Strange:

"Big Luther" and a supporter

There are a number of reasons to question this support. Matthew Boyle of Breitbart writes:

The manner in which Strange obtained incumbency is in and of itself entirely problematic. When now Attorney General Jeff Sessions was appointed to lead President Trump’s Justice Department, then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Strange into the U.S. Senate seat Sessions vacated. But, it turns out, Strange–as the attorney general of Alabama–had been investigating Bentley for a corruption and sex scandal that later claimed his job. Bentley was forced to resign over the scandal, and it turns out Strange had asked the state legislature to stall its impeachment proceedings of Bentley until after he was appointed into the Senate seat.

Strange is also someone who has been aligned against the president’s agenda when it comes to Senate rules, as he for months supported the 60-vote filibuster rule blocking most of the president’s agenda from passing in the U.S. Senate. He eventually demonstrated weakness by flip-flopping against it after signing a letter supporting it, and publicly campaigning for it.

Strange has some strange members of his team, considering the support he is getting, as Michael Patrick Leahy writes:

The attorney currently representing Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in the election law ethics complaint filed by the Alabama Secretary of State with state’s Ethics Commission provided a public guide to candidates who wanted to deprive President Donald Trump of the Republican nomination for president in 2016 by manipulating the delegate selection process.

“Megan Newton and Ben Ginsberg . . . lawyers from Jones Day . . . are tasked with ensuring the Senator’s compliance with Federal Elections Commission laws,” Yellowhammer News reported in May of Strange’s response to the complaint filed against Strange with the Alabama Ethics Commission by the Alabama Secretary of State.

In suspect that Trump’s tweet about “Big Luther” getting things done reveals the pragmatic basis for Trump’s support: he needs Strange’s vote in the Senate. Given the necessity of the moment, he does not enjoy the luxury of supporting the candidate who might be more closely aligned with his views.

While he may be ambarrassed if “Big Luther” loses the primary despite presidential support, I suspect that he would not be too disappointed with a Senator Moore, should current polling showing a large Moore lead stay valid through the voting.

Perhaps the Rolling Stones song that the president uses to end his rallies is appropriately kept in mind here:

“You can’t always get what you want…

You get what you need.”

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