ICYMI: Desperate for Trump’s Endorsement, WI GOP Primary Field Flocks to Mar-a-Lago
The GOP candidates for Wisconsin governor are all rushing to one place, and it’s not even in Wisconsin — it’s Donald Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago.
“A pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago has become a requisite for Wisconsin Republicans in 2022,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today.
The Republican candidates have been too busy scrambling for Trump’s blessing to address real concerns on the ground in Wisconsin.
Rebecca Kleefisch visited Mar-a-Lago in early March, and potential candidate Tommy Thompson met with Trump at the resort last week. And this week, Tim Ramthun traveled to Mar-a-Lago to attend a fundraiser for fellow far-right conspiracy theorist and Arizona GOP candidate Kari Lake.
“There’s only one reason to go there,” said the chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party, who was part of a group of fake Republican electors during the 2020 election. “Trump is still a driving force in the Republican Party and everybody wants to get his blessing.”
Rolling Stone reported that Trump personally called Ramthun to dangle an endorsement last December. Ramthun, who’s centered his entire campaign on the Big Lie, said, “I expect that if he’s going to do anything in Wisconsin, it’ll be for me.”
Read key excerpts from the article below:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort becomes ground zero in the Republican race for Wisconsin governor
A third Republican eyeing the governor’s office traveled to Donald Trump’s Florida resort this week as Wisconsin’s Democratic incumbent used his opponents’ trips to see the former president to build a campaign war chest.
A pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago has become a requisite for Wisconsin Republicans in 2022 and Rep. Tim Ramthun, a Republican from Campbellsport, arrived there Thursday as he crafts a campaign largely on the idea that President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory is illegitimate.
Ramthun’s visit, to attend a fundraiser for Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake, was the latest in a string of trips Republicans have made in the last month to see Trump as their primary field for governor takes shape.
Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is running against Ramthun in the GOP primary for governor, traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early March. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is mulling whether to get in the race, met with Trump at the club last week.
A spokeswoman for Kevin Nicholson, who also is running for governor, did not respond to whether Nicholson was also planning to take a trip.
“There’s only one reason to go there,” said Bill Feehan, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party. “Trump is still a driving force in the Republican Party and everybody wants to get his blessing.”
Ramthun and Trump discussed endorsements in a December phone call, according to a March 13 webcast interview Ramthun did with Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, a Texas-based entrepreneur who once invented a cat-shaped barcode scanner and testified before Georgia lawmakers in December 2020 claiming to be an expert in determining whether ballots were real or fake.
“He said you’re my kind of guy and I kind of thought that at that point, when the time came, he would come back around. He hasn’t yet for the state,” Ramthun told Pulitzer, in response to whether more established Republican politicians were “manipulating” Trump’s endorsements by spending money to hold fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago, suggesting campaign endorsements could be bought.
“I’m not one to beg and get desperate about it. He called me on Dec. 3. I didn’t call him. And I got the impression from him and some inner circle folks that I was working with, regarding attorneys for constitutional support (for election decertification), that I was his guy.”
“I expect that if he’s going to do anything in Wisconsin, it’ll be for me. But you don’t tell the president what to do. It’ll be on his time. And I’m patient. I’ll wait. Because good things come to those who wait.”
“There is still a sickness in the Republican Party, that they are going down to kiss the ring of Donald Trump, and that’s how they’re spending their time — courting his favor, courting money from him and other extremely far-right interests and very wealthy, far-right donors,” Baldauff said.
“That’s a priority to them over talking to voters in Wisconsin and listening to what people need, and hearing the actual concerns of people.”