Trump threatened to withdraw his endorsement of Nevada Republican Joe Lombardo after the then-candidate chose not to call him a ‘great’ president at an October debate: NYT

Trump Lombardo

Then-Nevada GOP gubernatorial nominee Joe Lombardo, right, campaigns with former President Donald Trump at a rally in Minden, Nev., on October 8, 2022.AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, Pool

  • Trump threatened to nix support for Joe Lombardo after he declined to call him “great,” per the NYT.

  • Lombardo, in an October debate, said Trump was “sound,” which prompted Trump to call Ronna McDaniel.

  • Lombardo, now the governor-elect of Nevada, narrowly defeated Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak.

During the 2022 midterms, Donald Trump threatened to nix his support of Nevada governor-elect Joe Lombardo for refusing to call the former president “great” during a debate with Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, according to The New York Times.

Lombardo said during the October debate that Trump was a “sound” president but at the time chose not to characterize him as a “great” one. The sheriff of Democratic-leaning Clark County was supported by Trump in the GOP primary.

After someone sent Trump clips of the debate, the former president called Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel that night and floated the possibility of nixing his endorsement of Lombardo, according to The Times.

With Lombardo in one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in what has become one of the most prominent swing states in the country, McDaniel asked Trump for an hour to smooth over the issue, according to individuals with knowledge of the situation who spoke with The Times.

Top GOP leaders, cognizant of the state’s competitive Senate and House races on the ballot that year, had long been eyeing those contests in their quest to take back control of Congress this year.

Soon after Trump’s call with McDaniel, the Lombardo campaign released a statement calling Trump a “great” president.

“By all measures, Donald J. Trump was a great President and his accomplishments are some of the most impactful in American history,” he said, touting a string of Trump’s accomplishments in office.

“President Trump presided over one of the greatest eras in modern American History,” he added.

When Trump came to Nevada to stump for Lombardo alongside now-defeated GOP Senate nominee Adam Laxalt later that month, the then-gubernatorial candidate called the former commander-in-chief “the greatest president” during a rally.

Last week, Lombardo unseated Sisolak from the Governor’s office 48.9%-47.3%, with most precincts reporting.

Many Republicans are grappling with the role that Trump should play within the GOP after the party failed to retake the Senate, with control of the House still uncertain days after the election.

Trump is widely expected to launch a 2024 presidential bid in the coming days, but some Republicans are warning that the former president’s vulnerabilities were glaringly apparent based on last Tuesday’s results.

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