Trump Stumps for Sen. Strange Over Judge Moore in Alabama

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by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  September 22, 2017   

Bannon: "Embracing the Establishment was the Trump administration's 'original sin'"

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. ( - Liberals and conservatives find it strange that President Donald Trump, whose populist agenda has suffered at the hands of Establishment Republicans, is now backing an Establishment Republican in a special election for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama.

President Trump will be in Huntsville Friday to stump for Establishment-backed Sen. Luther Strange over former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who's endorsed by Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. The Senate vacancy created by former Sen. Jeff Session's appointment as Trump's attorney general was temporarily filled when the now disgraced Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Strange, who was Alabama's attorney general.

Bentley's appointment of Strange has been shrouded in controversy as Bentley was then under investigation for possible sexual misconduct with a former aide by the attorney general's office headed by Strange. Shortly after the appointment, Gov. Bentley resigned. Speaking to this issue, Rep. Mike Ball, chairman of the House Ethics and Campaign Finance Committee remarked, "[T]here is plenty of evidence that gives me reason to believe that former Attorney General Strange and others could have committed crimes. If there are no state and federal investigations, the proper authorities are asleep at the wheel."

In spite of the controversy and formal complaint filed against Strange, owing to his dubious appointment, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Washington insiders are heavily backing his bid for office with millions of dollars in campaign support. Bannon, who still professes loyalty to Trump, said his personal support of Moore was a specific rebuke of McConnell rather than Trump.

During a recent interview on the CBS program, 60 Minutes, Bannon called out Sen. McConnell and other Establishment congressmen for opposing Trump's populist agenda. "They do not want Donald Trump's populist economic nationalist agenda to be implemented," Bannon remarked. "They do not support the president's program. It's an open secret on Capitol Hill. Everyone in this city knows it. ... Embracing the Establishment was the Trump administration's 'original sin.'"

Embracing the Establishment was the Trump administration's 'original sin.'

Tuesday's special runoff was owing to the fact that none of the GOP candidates obtained a majority vote in August's Republican Senate primary. Moore obtained 39 percent of the vote while Strange garnered 33 percent. The third place winner is now backing Moore along with other conservatives such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who told supporters last week,  "A vote for Judge Moore isn't a vote against the president. It is a vote for the people's agenda that elected the president."

Moore made headlines when in 2003 he was removed as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court by a judicial panel for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments that he had installed in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. In 2012, Alabama residents overwhelmingly voted Moore back into office. He was, however, suspended in 2016 for refusing to apply the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling, allowing gay marriage.

The winner of Tuesday's runoff will become the GOP candidate in December's senatorial election to see who serves out the rest of Session's term ending January 2021.

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