Inside the last-minute Trump endorsement that enraged Pa. Republicans

The former president’s last-minute decision to publicly back Mastriano gave him another win to boast of on primary night, but at some cost. The endorsement stung not only some of his own aides and allies — who warned him about Mastriano’s electability issues — it also roiled a large swath of influential lawmakers and party officials in the state who now say Trump’s endorsement could end up damaging his own 2024 prospects in Pennsylvania, in the event he runs again.

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“He’s alienated a lot of people on these endorsements. I guess the old saying in politics is that it’s better to be kingmaker than king. He just looks at who’s ahead in the polls and goes with that,” said former Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tom Marino. “I’m very disappointed. Pissed off, to tell the truth.”…

“The question here is, was the juice worth the squeeze? I think no,” said one prominent Republican involved in the governor’s race. “His standing and reputation — it took a big, big hit with both Oz and Mastriano [endorsements]. There is a third of the electorate that loves the endorsements, but there’s a great number of Republicans that don’t.”

Local party leaders were also frustrated by Trump’s eleventh-hour decision to wade into the governor’s race.

Asked if she was upset with Trump for endorsing Mastriano, Jackie Kulback, chair of the Cambria County Republican Party, said, “Yes. Absolutely.”

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