Former President Donald Trump reportedly summoned four GOP candidates for Ohio’s open Senate seat in a session that resembled the boardroom scenes out of “The Apprentice,” according to Politico.
“The contenders — former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP Chair Jane Timken, technology company executive Bernie Moreno and investment banker Mike Gibbons — had flown down to attend the fundraiser to benefit a Trump-endorsed Ohio candidate looking to oust one of the 10 House Republicans who backed his impeachment,” Politico reported. “As the candidates mingled during a pre-dinner cocktail reception, one of the president’s aides signaled to them that Trump wanted to huddle with them in a room just off the lobby.”
“What ensued was a 15-minute backroom backbiting session reminiscent of Trump’s reality TV show,” the report says. “Mandel said he was ‘crushing’ Timken in polling. Timken touted her support on the ground thanks to her time as state party chair. Gibbons mentioned how he’d helped Trump’s campaign financially. Moreno noted that his daughter had worked on Trump’s 2020 campaign.”
Although Trump is out of office, Republicans vying for the Senate nomination in Ohio and lawmakers around the country are eager for his endorsement in 2022 races, which will be a major test of the former president’s power to push through candidates aligned with his brand.
The bizarre vetting session is the latest development in a race where everyone is seeking to tie themselves as closely to Trump as possible.