Donald Trump held a press conference during last month’s Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans and lashed out at U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness, a fellow Republican and retired Air Force colonel.
“One hundred percent of that 7 percent is coming from your candidate,” Trump said during the presser, suggesting Maness is hurting Congressman Bill Cassidy’s chances of toppling Sen. Mary Landrieu.
While the press conference caught the attention of attendees, few were privy to the behind-the-scenes happenings that led to the outburst. Sources tell LaPolitics that Maness attempted to approach Trump while he was in his holding room backstage.
“I already met him,” Trump barked at a conference staffer, referring to the first of what were two pre-arranged meetings.
Maness, though, managed to make it into the room and politely requested Trump’s support.
“Why are you even running?” Trump asked loudly.
Sources say that Maness calmly tried to explain his $1 million war chest and growing tea party support, but shrugged off Trump’s advice that he get out of the race to help Cassidy.
“Well, what do I know about Republican politics?” Trump said, throwing his hands in the air and walking out on Maness.
The press conference soon followed, with Trump in a tizzy and Maness still a candidate.
“We’re aware of Mr. Trump’s remarks, but they seem to reveal a misunderstanding of the Louisiana electoral system,” Michael D. Byrne, Maness’ campaign manager, said via email. “The November primary will lead to a runoff, and Col. Maness will beat Senator Landrieu on December 6th.”
Parts of this story first appeared in Issue 984 of LaPolitics Weekly on June 5, 2014. Wish you would have read it then?Subscribe now!