Despite an unprecedented number of scandals and impeachments during his time in the White House, former President Donald Trump's grip on the Republican party is firm as ever.
The former President leads by wide margins in the slate of expected candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, and though he lost reelection in 2020, the skepticism of journalists and far-right conspiracy theories he embraced are still pervasive among Republican voters.
So it's no wonder why Republican candidates are clamoring for his endorsement ahead of primary season for the 2022 midterms. Some, apparently, are even falsely suggesting Trump's already given them his "Complete and Total Endorsement!"
The eagerness with which Republican contenders for elected office have painted themselves as the most Trump-loyal candidates has gotten the attention of Trump himself—and he doesn't seem to like it one bit.
Outgoing Trump aide Jason Miller refuted one such announcement on Twitter.
Former Trump Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Politico approach news of Trump endorsements with a grain of salt.
"Lots of candidates pretend to have the support of President Trump. Most are full of s**t. You will know when President Trump endorses someone."
Politico further reports that Trump has grown furious at candidates even implying they've been given his endorsement. The report details Trump's reaction to an Alabama Senate campaign ad for Lynda Blanchard, who donated $1 million to Trump's campaign and served as his ambassador to Slovenia (Melania Trump's home country).
The ad, released in February, heavily touts Blanchard's connections to Trump, emphasizing that she'd never thought of serving in public office "until President Trump asked [her] to." Blanchard describes herself as a "proud member of the MAGA movement" who's "grateful for the leadership and courage" of former President Trump. One prominent shot in the ad features the back of Blanchard's pickup truck, adorned with a pro-Trump bumper sticker.
Trump was reportedly enraged by the heavy use of his name in the ad, and even endorsed Blanchard's opponent—far-right Congressman Mo Brooks—an entire year ahead of the Republican primaries.
People couldn't help but mock the candidates for still clamoring for Trump's approval.
Others said Trump brought it on himself by embracing lies throughout his term.
There's virtually no question that Alabama will elect a Republican to the Senate in 2022. The question is which Republican.