- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

That didn’t take long.

The Trump-Bannon feud spilled over Wednesday into the GOP Senate primary race in West Virginia, where Rep. Evan Jenkins sided with President Trump and called on a top rival to do the same.

“After Steve Bannon’s vicious attacks on President Trump and his family, Patrick Morrisey should immediately disavow Bannon’s support,” Mr. Jenkins said in a press release. “If he refuses, West Virginians will know that what President Trump said of Bannon today is also true of Morrisey: ‘he is only in it for himself.’”

The Morrisey camp, which celebrated Bannon’s endorsement months ago, brushed off the demand.

“Attorney General Morrisey does not support these attacks on President Trump and his family, and was proud to stand with President Trump in 2016 when they were both overwhelmingly elected in West Virginia and when he cast his vote for Trump in the Electoral College,” said Nachama Soloveichik, a Morrisey campaign spokesperson. “Evan Jenkins is a fraud who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008 and stood by Barack Obama for years while Obama ran roughshod over West Virginia.”

The idea that candidates could be convinced to pick between Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon would have seemed ludicrous months ago.

When Mr. Bannon left his job over the summer as chief strategist at The White House he set out to recruit candidates that vowed to support the Trump agenda and take down incumbent Republicans that had failed to do so.

But the relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon turned sour Wednesday after excerpts from a new book — called “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” from Michael Wolff — were printed in New York Magazine and The Guardian that included remarks from Bannon that painted the Trump White House in an unflattering light.

Mr. Trump slammed Mr. Bannon, saying he “has nothing to do with me or my presidency.”

“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Hoping to put Mr. Morrisey on the defensive, Mr. Jenkins pounced, warning voters that his ties to Mr. Bannon shows he doesn’t really back Mr. Trump.

Before the blow up Wednesday, the Jenkins’ camp had downplayed Bannon’s role in the campaign, while the Morrisey team has touted his endorsement as good news.

Steve Bannon is a leader in the conservative movement and one of President Trump’s strongest supporters,” Ms. Soloveichik told the Charleston Gazette-Mail after the October endorsement. “When Steve Bannon speaks, people listen. Patrick has a proven track record of taking on Obama, defending coal and protecting West Virginia traditional values. If Steve Bannon wants to help spread Patrick’s conservative message, he can be a tremendous help and make a big impact on this race.”

The winner of the May GOP primary race is expected to face off against Sen. Joe Manchin in the November election. The Republican field also includes Don Blankenship, former chairman of Massey Energy; Co Copley, a coal miner; and Scott Ernst, a retired Air Force fighter pilot.

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