Trump endorses Wicker's reelection bid ahead of primary challenge

Trump endorses Wicker's reelection bid ahead of primary challenge
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE endorsed Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerTrump signs executive order to boost AI technology Hillicon Valley: Feds looking into Bezos claims about National Enquirer | Amazon reconsidering New York City HQ2 move | Sprint sues AT&T over 5G marketing claims Senate to hold hearing on potential privacy bill MORE for reelection on Tuesday, just one day before Wicker's likely primary opponent is expected to announce his bid. 

Trump tweeted his support for Wicker on Tuesday evening, lauding his work in the Senate. 
 
"[Wicker] of Mississippi has been a great supporter and incredible help in getting our massive Tax Cut Bill done and approved. Also big help on cutting regs. I am with him in his re-election all the way!" Trump wrote.

The move comes the day before Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel's rally in Mississippi, where he's expected to announce a challenge to Wicker. 

McDaniel has long teased a future Senate bid, but it's been unclear as to whether he would run against Wicker now or wait until 2020 to challenge Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTop 5 races to watch in 2019 Bottom Line Races Dems narrowly lost show party needs to return to Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy MORE (R-Miss.). Cochran, who is 79 years old, has faced questions about his health and could retire before his term is up.
 
During a Facebook Live post on Monday night, McDaniel hinted at an announcement, telling supporters to join him on Wednesday for a rally. 
 
"You can probably read between the lines as to why I'll be holding an event,” McDaniel said during the video. "We're looking for a fight, and I cant wait to have you on my team again.”
 
McDaniel spoke about "the idea that we can run against strong established individuals" in that message, raising speculation that he'll announce a bid against Wicker. 

But Trump's endorsement of Wicker complicates a possible outsider bid by McDaniel. 
 
McDaniel's name was first floated as a possible challenger to Wicker last year, when former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon was gearing up for primary bids against sitting Republican incumbents. The idea had been that the imprimatur of Bannon would lend additional credibility to insurgent candidates and link them to Trump even if the president didn't specifically weigh in. 
 
But Bannon has lost influence since he attacked one of Trump's sons. 
 
McDaniel ran an unexpectedly strong 2014 primary against Cochran. That race turned ugly with allegations of racism leveled against Cochran supporters and a McDaniel supporter posting pictures of Cochran's bedridden wife in a nursing home. McDaniel also refused to concede the race after he narrowly lost in a runoff, claiming voter fraud.