WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., attacked West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey Wednesday in connection to comments made by Steve Bannon, the former special counselor to President Donald Trump, as well as Bannon’s support of Morrisey’s U.S. Senate bid.
Jenkin’s strike came after multiple outlets published remarks made by Bannon regarding the Trump team and his adult children, with Morrisey following with strikes of his own.
Jenkins and Morrisey are both seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate and the opportunity to challenge Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. They have taken shots at each other since announcing their campaigns last summer in hopes of selling themselves to voters as the more conservative candidate.
Bannon was quoted in a new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” as saying it was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for Donald Trump Jr., brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to meet with a Russian individual in June 2016 in hopes of getting information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He also told author Michael Wolff that he believed Trump Jr. also brought the operative to his father.
Bannon said Special Counsel Robert Mueller and investigators would “crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV” because of the meeting, adding investigations are likely focused on money laundering.
Additionally, he described Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House advisor, as “dumb as a brick.”
Bannon hosted Morrisey in September on the Breitbart News Daily radio program, in which Bannon said Morrisey was one of the candidates Breitbart News has interest in getting elected.
“It’s no flash, it’s all grind,” said Bannon, who now serves as executive chairman of Breitbart News. “When Morrisey says he is going to get something done, it gets done. It’s blocking and tackling. I’ve told people this with Trump: it’s authenticity.”
Jenkins said Morrisey should disavow Bannon’s support, saying a lack of statement would prove Morrisey was in the race for himself.
“West Virginians will recall that Morrisey pointedly declined to endorse Donald Trump until months after he won the GOP nomination — the only RNC delegate from the Mountain State to take that stance,” Jenkins said in a statement.
Morrisey attended the 2016 Republican National Convention as an unaffiliated delegate, saying on MetroNews “Talkline” it would allow him to “the ability to make a seasoned judgment choice.” He did vote as a delegate for Trump, and has said he voted for the president in the primary and general elections.
Morrisey campaign spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik said the attorney general is against Bannon’s comments.
“Patrick Morrisey has been endorsed by many conservatives throughout West Virginia and America because of his strong conservative record,” she said. “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.”
Soloveichik added Jenkins was a “liberal Democrat” who supported liberal political positions because of his prior affiliation with the Democratic Party. Jenkins served in the West Virginia Legislature as a Democrat before becoming a Republican prior to the 2014 midterm election.
She did not respond to a question regarding if Morrisey still accepts Bannon’s support.
Morrisey tweeted Jenkins’ past with the Democratic Party makes his “senatorial timber balsa wood.”
“When we have a debate, people will know Jenkins is a fake conservative,” he said.
Trump said Wednesday afternoon Bannon had “nothing to do with me or my Presidency,” and Bannon “lost his mind” after he left the White House in August.
“Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was,” the president said. “It is the only thing he does well.”
Lawyers for Trump sent a cease and desist letter to Bannon demanding he stop making comments regarding the president and his family.
“Fake News needs the competition!” he added.