McCormick gets Trump's endorsement in Pennsylvania's Senate race despite awkward history

Former President Donald Trump endorsed U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick of Pennsylvania on Saturday, urging his supporters in the state to “go out and vote for him” in one of the year’s most hotly contested Senate races.

Trump's endorsement came two years after he successfully helped sink McCormick in Pennsylvania's Senate GOP primary, creating an awkward dynamic between the two men who will share the ticket in a state that is critical to control of the White House and Senate.

“He’s a good man. He wants to run a good ship,” Trump said during a rally in the northeast Pennsylvania town of Schnecksville. “He’s a smart guy. He was a very successful guy. He’s given up a lot to do this.”

McCormick — who splits his time in Connecticut, where he has a home — did not attend the rally. He was at a parents’ weekend with his daughter, a campaign spokesperson said.

McCormick responded on social media, writing on the X platform: “Thank you, President Trump! Together we will deliver a big win for Pennsylvania and America in November.”

McCormick is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, who is seeking his fourth term and is perhaps Pennsylvania’s best-known politician.

Many would-be Republican nominees in Senate battlegrounds had endorsed Trump early in the GOP presidential primary, campaigned for him or otherwise sought his approval.

McCormick didn't, and he only endorsed Trump after Nikki Haley suspended her presidential campaign following her Super Tuesday defeats, leaving Trump as the last remaining major candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination.

In 2022, McCormick — like others in the seven-way GOP primary to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey — had sought Trump’s endorsement.

According to McCormick’s telling of it, Trump told McCormick during their meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida that to win the primary McCormick would need to say the 2020 election was stolen.

McCormick said he refused. Three days later, Trump endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz and then savaged McCormick repeatedly on the campaign trail.

In one setting, a rally in western Pennsylvania days before the 2022 primary, Trump told the crowd that McCormick is “not MAGA,” using the acronym for his Make America Great Again campaign slogan.

Then he derided McCormick as having been with a company — the hedge fund — that “managed money for communist China,” describing him in the next breath as “the candidate of special interests and globalists and the Washington establishment.”

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Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/timelywriter.

Jonathan J. Cooper And Marc Levy, The Associated Press