President Donald Trump, who previously praised Rep. Diane Black, essentially cast her aside Friday after she lost a Republican gubernatorial primary in Tennessee.
Though the president never officially endorsed her, he did mention her — and not Bill Lee, the eventual victor — during a May 31 rally in Nashville.
“She’s in a big race. Good luck, Diane,” he said.
Trump has also praised Black on Twitter for her work as House Budget chairwoman, calling her “highly respected” and saying she “did a GREAT job in passing Budget, setting up big Tax Cuts.”
Diane Black of Tennessee, the highly respected House Budget Committee Chairwoman, did a GREAT job in passing Budget, setting up big Tax Cuts
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence, however, did endorse Black. And her campaign ran ads touting what it described as Trump’s support. One featured a clip from a White House meeting with GOP lawmakers in which Trump said, “I called Diane Black, and you came through, Diane.”
But just hours after she lost to Lee, Trump shifted his public praise to the state’s GOP nominee for governor.
“He ran a great campaign and now will finish off the job in November,” the president tweeted, adding that the businessman “has my total and enthusiastic Endorsement!”
Congratulations to Bill Lee of Tennessee on his big primary win for Governor last night. He ran a great campaign and now will finish off the job in November. Bill has my total and enthusiastic Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2018
Black’s loss suggests that in some states merely touting one’s ties to and praise from Trump might not be enough to propel a GOP candidate to victory without the president getting involved in those races.
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