PINEVILLE, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice made some comments about his relationship with President Donald Trump just before he handed out nearly $1.5 million in grant funds to a gathering in Pineville Thursday morning.
“Bless him with all my soul. I love him totally to death and he’s my buddy but he is tough to focus at times because he’s all over the board,” Justice said.
Justice was discussing a meeting he had last year in the Oval Office with Trump on Justice’s plan to save the eastern coalfields.
“He’s so smart and he’s got everything coming at him like a fire hose but he’s all over the board sometimes,” Justice said just before he described to the small crowd how he got Trump’s attention during that meeting.
The relationship, which actually began before Justice was elected governor and Trump was elected president, solidified when Justice announced at a 2017 Trump rally in Huntington that he was changing his registration to Republican. Trump is apparently going to help Justice in his reelection bid.
A report this week in Politico said Trump is sending two of his top lieutenants, Bill Stepien and Justin Clark, to assist Justice in his attempt to stay in office.
“They are to help put together an operation that can target voters, that can get voters out to the polls and that can help Justice communicate as he heads into the 2020 campaign,” Alex Isenstadt, the author of the Politico article said Thursday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) April 11, 2019
Justice announced his reelection bid Jan. 7.
“I just feel like in my heart, that I can do it,” he said. “And whether it’s egotistical or not, not very often can somebody come along that’s me — that has a big-thinking, big-creative thinking mind and a lot, a lot of experience and made so many mistakes it’s unbelievable.
“But I’ve learned from them, and I have a real talent for the people as far as communicating with them.”
Isenstadt said Justice can apparently count on Trump’s help in the campaign. He said Trump is very loyal.
“He wants to make sure not only that he wins reelection in 2020 but also that other top allies like Jim Justice win reelection as well,” Isenstadt said.
This has been a tough week for Justice with information surfacing about a U.S. Department of Justice subpoena seeking information about any dealings between the state and Justice’s companies. The governor has said he’s got nothing to hide and is fully cooperating.
Isenstadt said Trump will be heavily favored in West Virginia next year and it will be important for Justice to join with him.
“It’s going to be really incumbent upon him to prove to Trump voters that he’s one of them, that he’s an ally of the President and perhaps the President is going to have to make a couple of visits (to West Virginia),” Isenstadt said.
In his Politico article, Isenstadt reports Stepien and Clark are considered two of Trump’s most loyal political aides. They both worked on his 2016 campaign and later served as part of the Trump administration. They will now help Justice.