The former president’s decision to endorse “Eric” for a race with two Erics as the main contenders has plunged Trumpworld into open chaos.
The trouble began Monday night when Donald Trump tossed his political weight behind “Eric,” meaning that two Missouri Senate Republican candidates, Eric Greitens and Eric Schmitt, could legitimately claim to have his blessing.
(Rep. Vicky Hartzler, the one candidate in the race Trump explicitly said he would not endorse, congratulated the third little-known “Eric” on the ballot, Eric McElroy, in a tongue-in-cheek statement.)
Within minutes, both Schmitt and Greitens had put out tweets touting the endorsement without acknowledging it was a joint venture.
By Tuesday morning it was clear, that Trumpworld pundits were not amused.
Fox News host and right-wing media heavyweight Dan Bongino had a meltdown on Twitter over Greitens asserting Trump had endorsed him.
“Nope. Not a chance in hell,” he wrote in response to a Greitens tweet touting the coveted Trump backing. “Flush that seat down the toilet if Greitens wins.”
“Bullshit. Read the endorsement,” the Fox News host continued. “This dude is a FRAUD.”
Convinced that two tweets weren’t enough on the matter, Bongino kept tweeting.
“If you listen to any of my shows, you know that I generally stay out of primaries. But this is different. PLEASE, do not vote for Greitens. Trust me on this. Please,” he concluded. “I can’t emphasize this using strong enough English words.”
Likewise, upon Greitens claiming the Trump endorsement as his own, former NRA spokesperson and firearm fanatic Dana Loesch jumped into the fold to take a swing at Greitens.
“Greitens is down double-digits to Schmitt in the polls and camped outside Mar-a-Lago for weeks hoping to score an endorsement, only to get this,” she tweeted. “Greitens is the Beto [O’Rourke] of Missouri.”
A senior Greitens campaign adviser fired back on the Loesch claim Tuesday afternoon, telling The Daily Beast, “There’s only one candidate who camped out, and that’s RINO Eric Schmitt.”
It didn’t end there, as the influential Loesch ripped into Rep. Matt Gaetz over his support for the former Missouri governor.
“That ain’t no endorsement, dude,” Loesch said in response to a Gaetz tweet congratulating Greitens.
In a tweet Tuesday, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) cheered on Schmitt.
“Missouri, the polls are open right now! Vote for my friend Eric Schmitt,” the senator said. “He is the strongest conservative in the Missouri Senate race!”
A Trump spokesperson didn’t return The Daily Beast’s request for comment on the story Tuesday morning.
Politico reported late Monday that the dual endorsement came at the end of a seven-hour lobbying campaign that occurred at Trump’s Bedminster golf club. The scramble featured Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle working overtime on behalf of Greitens and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel attempting to convince the ex-president to stay neutral.
In the end, Trump, setting aside fears that a double endorsement might be “too cute,” backed both candidates and phoned them up to congratulate them while leaving out that he also backed their rival, according to Politico.
While there were plenty of Greitens detractors, there were also supporters.
“Missouri get out and vote Eric Greitens,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani declared. “I’m personally very proud of President Trump for having the courage, guts and balls to endorse Eric Greitens,” right-wing radio talker and Steve Bannon pal John Fredericks chimed in. “#BallsWins.”
On Trump’s own social media site, Truth Social, opinions on the endorsement ranged widely, with many pro-Trump users getting into arguments with each other in the comment section.
“Schmitt is an Establishment RINO,” wrote the user “@MidnightLouie,” while others pro-Trump users squabbled over which “Eric” was Trump’s favorite in the race.
On Tuesday morning, Greitens, who refers to himself as a “MAGA warrior,” appearing on Steve Bannon’s WarRoom program, said, “At the end of the day, this race is very simple…this is MAGA vs. [Mitch] McConnell.”