A Trump associate said the former president is 'pulling strings behind the scenes' in 2022 GOP primaries, likened him to 'The Godfather's' Vito Corleone: report

Ted Budd
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris Seward
  • Former President Trump is playing an outsized role in molding GOP primaries in key 2022 races.

  • An individual close to Trump even likened him to the mob boss Vito Corleone from "The Godfather."

  • The former president has sought to boost candidates in North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Former President Donald Trump has raised the stakes in his mission to mold the GOP to his liking, eagerly wading into 2022 Republican primaries to boost particular candidates — and in some cases — seeking to push out party members that he has soured on, according to a CNN report.

In three states — North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama — the former president has played an outsized role in propping up candidates that have earned his endorsement while looking to push out Republicans who didn't make the cut.

According to CNN, an individual close to Trump even compared him to the mob boss Vito Corleone from the film "The Godfather," pointing to the former president's efforts to purge the GOP of lawmakers who criticized him over his role in the January 6 riot, as well as those who backed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill championed by President Joe Biden.

Video: The rise and fall of Trump's $365 million airline

According to the individual, Trump has been "pulling strings behind the scenes and guiding candidates in the right direction."

A year before the midterm elections, the former president is mapping out his strategy to propel loyalists to key political positions.

Earlier in November, Trump reached out to Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a conservative freshman from North Carolina, to convince former Rep. Mark Walker to end his bid to become the Tar Heel state's next US senator next year, since the former president has already endorsed Rep. Ted Budd in the race, according to individuals familiar with the situation who spoke with CNN.

Several polls have shown Walker behind Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory, who is also competing in the primary, and Republicans who have thrown their support behind Budd believe he could gain some traction over McCrory if the vote wasn't splintered among conservatives.

Walker, who did not respond to CNN regarding the development, is now thinking about shifting gears to a House campaign, according to individuals connected to the former congressman who spoke with CNN.

David Perdue
Former Sen. David Perdue, who could potentially jump into the Georgia GOP gubernatorial primary, is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump.Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool

An eye on the Deep South

In Georgia, Trump has reportedly asked former Sen. David Perdue to challenge incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in next year's Republican primary.

Perdue lost his reelection bid to now-Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff in a high-profile runoff election this past January, but has long been popular with the state's conservatives.

Trump remains incensed that Kemp refused to help overturn Biden's electoral victory in Georgia last November, a stance that also led to the former president to endorse Rep. Jody Hice over incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Raffensperger, who attested to the integrity of the state's vote during the presidential election, resisted Trump's aggressive moves to "find" additional votes to invalidate Biden's win in the Peach State.

The former president reportedly wants to create a "Trump ticket," according to a state Republican operative, led by Herschel Walker as the party's Senate nominee, along with other endorsed candidates for statewide races.

In the deeply conservative state of Alabama, Trump is reportedly seeking to oust fellow Republican Gov. Kay Ivey over a canceled rally that was set to be held this summer, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The former president sought to hold a July 4 weekend rally in Mobile as a way to continue engaging with supporters who continue to back his "Make Again Great Again" political agenda. However, the event was scrapped after local officials were concerned that the gathering would be too political in nature since it would be held at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park.

Trump eventually held a rally in Cullman, Ala., in August, but he is reportedly still upset with Ivey over the decision and has floated endorsing former US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard to challenge the governor in a GOP gubernatorial primary.

Blanchard is currently in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, and her exit from that race would likely benefit Rep. Mo Brooks, a staunch Trump ally who received the former president's endorsement earlier this year.

Despite Trump's seal of approval, Brooks is not enjoying an easy glide to the nomination.

The former president in recent weeks has complained to allies about the lack of momentum with the Brooks campaign, according to individuals with knowledge of the situation who spoke with CNN.

And Shelby endorsed Katie Britt, his former chief of staff, in the Senate race — with the candidate besting Brooks in fundraising for the most recent quarter.

Read the original article on Business Insider