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Trump throws support behind Barletta in Pa. Senate race

Trump throws support behind Barletta in Pa. Senate race
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump renews attacks against Tester over VA nominee on eve of Montana rally Trump submits 2017 federal income tax returns Corker: Trump administration 'clamped down' on Saudi intel, canceled briefing MORE on Sunday threw his support behind Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials move to require drug prices in TV ads | 4,000 more people lose Medicaid in Arkansas | New top official for Medicaid Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight Should we retire the ‘wave' election moniker? MORE (R-Pa.), who is seen as the leading Republican candidate seeking to unseat Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDems target small cluster of states in battle for House Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials move to require drug prices in TV ads | 4,000 more people lose Medicaid in Arkansas | New top official for Medicaid Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight MORE Jr. (D) in the midterm elections.

“Rep. Lou Barletta, a Great Republican from Pennsylvania who was one of my very earliest supporters, will make a FANTASTIC Senator,” Trump tweeted. “He is strong & smart, loves Pennsylvania & loves our Country! Voted for Tax Cuts, unlike Bob Casey, who listened to Tax Hikers Pelosi and Schumer!”

Trump had already given Barletta a de facto endorsement last year when he said during a rally that the candidate was a "great guy" who will "win big."

The president has lately taken an interest in elections in Pennsylvania, a state that proved vital to Trump’s victory in 2016.

Last month, the president visited the state to signal support for Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in a special election to replace Rep. Tim MurphyTim MurphyPoll: Lamb has double-digit lead in Pennsylvania House race Jordan weathering political storm, but headwinds remain Saccone loses GOP primary comeback bid in Pa. MORE (R), who announced his resignation last month after reports that he had urged a woman with whom he had been having an affair to get an abortion.

Barletta was an early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign. After Trump expressed his support, Barletta tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “We are revitilizing the American dream day after day. America will grow America will prosper America will be greater than ever before. #MAGA.”

Barletta has drawn fire recently over a CNN report that when he was mayor of Hazleton, Pa., he did an interview in 2006 with American Free Press, which is known for promoting anti-Semitic views, including the idea that the Holocaust wasn’t real.

The next year he also headlined a rally featuring a band that promoted Holocaust and 9/11 conspiracies.

According to Barletta’s deputy campaign manager, Barletta was “not aware of these individuals’ background,” and has always condemned “hate, bigotry and racial supremacy in all its forms.”

The Pennsylvania primary elections for the Senate will be held on May 15.