January 30, 2023

Kentucky Republicans came to the state’s first political event this weekend intent on winning the election in November and beyond, but some candidates looking to become governor have had a hard time dealing with the defeat of Donald Trump in 2020.

They gave either parsed or tormented responses when asked if Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Trump for the presidency was a fair decision. Their tiptoe was a sign of Trump’s continued hold on many in the Republican Party, including Kentucky, which he carried twice as easily.

That effect was evident on Saturday as Trump supporters carried large “Trump Ones” banners as people gathered for a political talk at a fancier ranch picnic in western Kentucky. The banners – promoting Trump’s false claims about the rigged 2020 election – drew cheers from Republicans. Picnic Talk—appeared on statewide television—is a rite of passage for statewide candidates in Kentucky.

Trump has already thrown his weight in the 2023 Bluegrass race for governor, endorsing Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron. Democratic Governor Andy Bashir, who is seeking a second term, skipped the picnic and spent Saturday comforting flood victims in eastern Kentucky.

Cameron hinted at Trump’s endorsement during his picnic speech. But he was alarmed by questions over the weekend about the former president’s unsupported allegations of widespread election fraud in 2020.

“The election was fair and safe here in Kentucky,” Cameron said to a reporter’s questions. “Look, we have to focus on the future. That’s what this campaign is all about.”

However, Cameron has distanced himself from the views of some hard-line Trump supporters, who believe that the results of the 2020 presidential election should be annulled.

“President Biden is the President of the United States. I don’t argue with that,” Cameron, who as attorney general has joined in several lawsuits challenging the Biden administration’s policies, said.

Cameron, who has worked with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and considers him a mentor, also declined to discuss the January 6 rebellion in the US Capitol. The House committee investigating the attack blamed Trump, saying the attack was not spontaneous but an “attempted coup” and a direct result of the defeated president’s efforts to nullify the election.

Instead of discussing the Capitol blockade, Cameron referred to the 2020 protests sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other black Americans in confrontations with police. He said he was not asked about the protests that destroyed property in some cities in the country.

Cameron, who is black, even made a joke about endorsing Trump in his picnic speech — in the form of a real Fancy Farm, where niggers and parodies are not only common, but expected.

“Now people are speculating about how I got that endorsement. So today I’m going to spill the beans. It was actually pretty easy. … All I had to do was reassure Trump that Mitch McConnell was not MacKenzie’s grandfather,” Cameron quipped, referring to to his wife.

Cameron was the only gubernatorial candidate to mention Trump, who has been endorsed by other GOP candidates for governor, from the Fancy Farm stage.

In her picnic speech, Representative Savannah Maddox, another candidate for governor, mentioned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as a “genuine Republican” who would “fight for your constitutional rights and freedoms.”

Cameron wasn’t the only Republican candidate having a hard time answering questions about Trump.

When asked if he thought Biden won fairly, Ryan Quarles replied that Kentucky had a “safe election” and that Trump “won massively” in Bluegrass. Quarles, the state’s agriculture commissioner, is also among the candidates for governor seeking to determine the Republican nomination next spring.

“I think President Trump would have done a much better job than President Biden if he were in office today,” Quarles added.

Another hopeful for the governor’s position, state auditor Mike Harmon, gave a more than 140-word answer when first asked if Biden had won fairly. Harmon later said that some key “controls” related to the elections had been abolished, but said he could not “make an assessment one way or the other.”

Harmon said he wished there had been no attack on the Capitol, but also noted the damage and destruction of property during police-related protests, saying there was a lack of interest in the matter.

“Sure, President Biden is our president,” Harmon later said. We should pray for him as we would pray for any of our superiors. We hope to provide guidance. There are some things we wish he’d do differently, obviously.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *