Are you ready for Senator Corey Lewandowski? Donald Trump certainly is, as he made clear twice yesterday. Trump stopped short of a formal endorsement at his rally in New Hampshire, but told his former campaign adviser to “let us know” what his 2020 plans are. Earlier in the day, he’d promoted the idea on a local talk-radio show too:
President Trump on Thursday all but endorsed his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, for a potential Senate run from New Hampshire, saying he would be “hard to beat” if he ran and a “great senator” if he won.
Mr. Trump first made the remarks in an interview with the New Hampshire radio host Jack Heath, amid reports that Mr. Lewandowski is seriously considering a campaign in his home state to become the Republican challenger to the Democratic incumbent, Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
At a re-election campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., on Thursday night, Mr. Trump again stopped short of an outright endorsement, though he told the crowd that Mr. Lewandowski would “go into Washington and he’s going to have you in mind.”
He said that he had been asked whether he would support Mr. Lewandowski, whom Mr. Trump fired at the urging of his children in June 2016, but with whom he has remained close.
“They’re all saying, ‘Are you going to support him?’” Mr. Trump said. “I said, ‘I don’t know if he’s running.’ So Corey, let us know please, if you don’t mind.”
It’s the first presidential embrace of Lewandowski in a very long while, which makes this newsy enough. Lewandowski received subpoena demands from House Democrats yesterday over his recollection about alleged incidents of obstruction of justice by Trump. He appeared in the Mueller report in two separate episodes, and unlike aides like White House counsel Don McGahn and Hope Hicks, Lewandowski had no formal role and may not be able to claim executive privilege as a result:
Lewandowski is also the first of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s most significant witnesses who had no formal role in the White House to be served with a subpoena by the Judiciary Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment. That subpoena in particular will test the president’s ability to block him from cooperating, as he has with most other witnesses subpoenaed by Congress.
In one of Mueller’s most damning findings, Lewandowski described to him a directive from Trump that he tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he must constrain Mueller’s investigation or be fired. Lewandowski, at one point, asked Dearborn to deliver the message to Sessions instead, but Dearborn ultimately refused.
In a second episode, according to the special counsel’s report, the president again asked Lewandowski to pressure Sessions to limit Mueller’s scope to future election interference attempts.
Lewandowski’s battle with the House would certainly color any Senate campaign he’d try to mount in New Hampshire. That wouldn’t do Granite State Republicans much good, and they’re nowhere near as enthusiastic as Trump about those prospects. And it’s not just the subpoena that has them worried, either:
That kind of talk is prompting an outbreak of agita among Republicans in the Granite State. “There’s zero added value to have somebody like Cory on the ticket,” said Dave Carney, a longtime G.O.P. strategist in the state. …
But some Republicans in the state are fiercely opposed to Mr. Lewandowski’s candidacy, leaving them in rare open revolt to the White House. Many are concerned with the baggage he would bring to the race: He was accused of grabbing a female reporterwhen he worked for the campaign, and he has drawn scrutiny over his “advisory” business, which let him represent clients while remaining close to the White House.
Former Senator Judd Gregg called Mr. Lewandowski a “thug.” The Union Leader, a conservative bulwark in the state, published a signed editorial against his candidacy. And Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, is signaling to allies that he’d rather Mr. Lewandowski sit out the race.
Their argument: Mr. Lewandowski could win the primary, but he’d cost Republicans the state in the general election. They also say he would do little to expand on Mr. Trump’s base in the fiercely independent state.
The Union-Leader warned Trump on Wednesday that he could win the state if Lewandowski doesn’t ruin prospects for him:
New Hampshire Democrats could find themselves in a role-reversal next year, weighed down by a national ticket so far out in leftist looney land that independent voters may hold their noses and vote for Trump as the lesser of two evils. Some lower races may then follow suit.
Unless, of course, “Republican” candidates are of the Corey Lewandowski type. Aptly called a political “thug” by Judd Gregg, Lewandowski is no more a Republican than is his man, Trump. On any given day, he will be having whatever Trump is embracing at the time: record-high debt and deficits, an isolationist America, and a coarsening and debasement of political discourse and basic civility that should shame the once Grand Old Party.
Jeanne Shaheen faces a tough re-election bid next year. She only got 51.5% of the vote in 2014, albeit in a GOP wave election. Against a well-prepared and attractive Republican challenger with Trump at the top of the ticket running against a hard-Left progressive, the GOP could steal the seat from Democrats and stop them from gaining control of the Senate. Lewandowski, however, has so much baggage that he’d be lucky to keep Shaheen from getting 60% of the vote.
Lewandowski has yet to respond. Perhaps he should consider sending his regrets to this invitation, and the White House might want to pay closer attention to what the state party tells them about their electorate.