Republican Senate candidates in need of the Donald Trump sheen in their reelection bids are seeking out the one person who shares the president’s bloodline and initials: Donald Trump Jr.
Absent a visit from the president himself, a fundraiser or event with Trump Jr. is fast becoming red-state Republican hopefuls’ favorite way to boast Trump’s support. So while his sister Ivanka worked to pull strings in the White House, Trump Jr. logged half a dozen rallies and fundraisers this spring and is planning to add more to the books, according to a source close to him.
This past Friday, Trump Jr. headlined a fundraiser in Montana that raised more than $130,000 for Matt Rosendale, the state auditor challenging Sen. Jon Tester, before giving the keynote address at the state GOP’s annual dinner.
The president’s 40-year-old son, who remains a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, is using the trips to establish a political identity independent of his father’s. It’s fueling speculation that he’s eyeing elected office himself someday, though allies say he‘s happy serving as a liaison to his father’s base during the run-up to 2020 and building out a noncandidate role in Republican politics.
“I think he’s becoming an independent force,” Patrick Morrisey, the West Virginia attorney general who is challenging Sen. Joe Manchin, said in an interview. Trump Jr. campaigned with Morrisey in early June and will host a fundraiser for him in New York City next month.