Campaign

Trump tries to spin failed Texas endorsement: 'This was a win'

Former President Trump on Wednesday brushed off the defeat of his preferred candidate in a House special election in Texas the day before, saying in the end the choice was between "two very good people."

Susan Wright, whom Trump had endorsed and campaigned for, was defeated Tuesday by fellow Republican Jake Ellzey in the race to replace Wright's late husband, GOP Rep. Ron Wright.

Trump told Axios in an interview he was pressured to endorse Wright by the anti-tax Club for Growth, but he refused to frame the vote as a loss.

"I think this is the only race we've lost together," Trump told Axios while discussing Club for Growth, though he paused himself after saying "lost" to change the wording.

"This is the only race we've ... this is not a loss, again, I don't want to claim it is a loss, this was a win. ... The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win," he said.

A source familiar with the situation told Axios that Club for Growth cited internal polling showing Wright was up by double-digits to convince the former president to support her. 

"Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Texas! Susan Wright supports America First policies, our Military and our Veterans, is strong on Borders, tough on Crime, Pro-Life, and will always protect our Second Amendment. She will serve the people in the 6th Congressional District of Texas, and our Country, very well. Susan has my Complete and Total Endorsement," Trump said in a statement before the race.

Trump administration Energy Secretary Rick Perry and other Trump allies are reportedly angry at Club for Growth and its president, David McIntosh, for convincing the president to endorse Wright after advisors were apprehensive about choosing a side in the race.

"He totally was taken to the cleaners by the Club for Growth," Perry told Axios. "There has to be a reckoning for the Club for Growth. ... This whole debacle for the president can be centered on the Club for Growth and David McIntosh."

Another source told Axios that Trump plans to be more cautious with his endorsements as he seeks to maintain an iron grip on the GOP heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

Outbrain