What Trump’s Last-Minute Endorsement of Doug Mastriano Really Tells Us

Supporters of Donald Trump won’t want to hear this. As a supporter of Donald Trump myself, I don’t want to write it. But there’s a reality that needs to be explained for the sake of understanding why Donald Trump is endorsing certain people. It may be uncomfortable for some to hear, but it needs to be said.

Throughout this primary season, Donald Trump has made a few questionable endorsements. Dr. Mehmet Oz, who is AT BEST a milquetoast centrist and at worst a RINO globalist, is arguably his worst endorsement and the most noteworthy in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary.

But news came in today that he endorsed Doug Mastriano for Governor. Many have cheered as Mastriano has been a MAGA guy all along. He was among the strongest fighters against the 2020 election steal and was leading the Pennsylvania Senate to be the first in the nation to correct the fraud but was stalled by RINOs. His endorsement makes perfect sense.

So why did it happen now? Why has Trump withheld arguably the easiest endorsement possible until four days before the primary? The reason is unfortunate: It wasn’t until this week that Mastriano appeared to have the nomination well in hand.

There’s an ugly reality that Republican voters need to understand about Donald Trump endorsements. He doesn’t pick who he wants to win. He picks who he thinks is GOING TO WIN. His endorsements are based solely on the word of his advisors and big donors who tell him who to back based on whether they can notch another win on his belt. This is politics, folks. He wants to come out of primary season saying 99% of the people he backed won their primaries. It will solidify his position as the de facto leader of the party going into the 2024 election season.

We saw this play out with Mo Brooks. The U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama had Trump’s full endorsement early on when he was leading the field by a mile. Early polling had Brooks in the 40s with his nearest opponent in the teens. Trump claimed he pulled his endorsement because Brooks said we need to “move on” from trying to correct the 2020 election. If that were true, then he should have pulled a bunch of endorsements because over half the people with his stamp of approval have also called to move on in some form or fashion.

The truth is this: He pulled his endorsement because Brooks fell from having a comfortable lead to a dismal third place and practically no chance of pulling off the victory.

We saw this play out in Ohio with the J.D. Vance endorsement. I like Vance, but he was a vocal Never-Trumper. That alone is not disqualifying as many have changed tunes and become staunch Trump supporters. If there wasn’t another America First candidate available then endorsing Vance would have been the best choice. But Josh Mandel was the better America First choice. Unfortunately for Mandel, Vance had a better chance of winning and Trump’s endorsement helped put him over the top.

I’ve been getting mostly positive responses to my defense of Kathy Barnette. But some have told me that even though they don’t like Dr. Mehmet Oz, they’re supporting him because Trump only picks the best people to endorse. I posted my thoughts about that on Twitter:

To the people supporting Dr. Oz because they think Trump always picks the best people: Mitt Romney, H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson, Reince Priebus, Omarosa, Michael Cohen, Bill Barr, Mike Pence, John Kelly, John Bolton, Jim Mattis, Jeff Sessions… need I go further?

Doug Mastriano should have been the first person Trump endorsed. Waiting until now confirms Trump’s advisors and donors are picking winners rather than the best America First candidates. It is what it is.