Parnell notes the orders are not evidence of wrongdoing. But Bartos has tried to make the issue a liability and warned it could damage Parnell in a general election, potentially costing Republicans the seat.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich did not respond to specific questions about what Trump knew of the allegations, but defended the former president’s choices and instead blamed journalists.
“President Trump continues to pick strong fighters who will advance his America First agenda,” he said. “However, we are no strangers to the depths the fake news is willing to fall in order to smear honorable patriots with false allegations.”
But even some allies of the former president worry the haphazard nature of his endorsement process leaves him open to potential embarrassment and risks checkering an endorsement record he takes pride in. Some have advised that he be more judicious and endorse in fewer races, even as he basks in the attention showered on him by candidates jockeying for his seal of approval, still seen as a golden ticket in many districts where he remains the party’s biggest star.
For candidates who seek Trump’s backing, there’s some degree of process.
Candidates can make contact with Trump’s team via an email address that was set up to sift through incoming endorsement requests. Trump interviews the candidates personally, and aides check up on their past statements and try to determine whether they share his policy priorities, which have come to include their position on election audits and how vigorously they supported the baseless effort to overturn the 2020 results.