'Warren was nowhere to be found,' Trump campaign staffers claim

'Warren was nowhere to be found,' Trump campaign staffers claim
Governor Henry McMaster stands with President Donald Trump at an event (Source: WIS)
Governor Henry McMaster stands with President Donald Trump at an event (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In the race to become South Carolina's next governor, the two Republicans still standing are doing whatever they can to cozy up to President Donald Trump.

The story begins more than two years ago, in January 2016, when then-Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster went out on a limb and endorsed Trump, a candidate many didn't take seriously at that point.

More than a year later, President Trump paid McMaster back with an early endorsement in McMaster's quest to win a full term as governor.

"I think if the only thing you have to brag about on your record is the fact that the President has endorsed you, it's a short record of accomplishment," McMaster's opponent, John Warren, said last week.

Since then, Warren has tried to undermine McMaster's big endorsement and has argued that his record and career are more similar to those of Trump.

Now, his campaign has taken things a step further by releasing a video to WIS.

"In the beginning, in this election, this go-round, I was pledged for Lindsey Graham," McMaster said in the short clip.

To Warren's supporters, the video is proof that McMaster originally supported Sen. Graham's woefully unsuccessful bid for president before he endorsed Trump.

"Lindsey's obviously the senior senator for South Carolina, and the governor's known Lindsey for a very, very long time," said Justin Evans, a businessman who supports McMaster.

Monday, Evans and two others who worked on Trump's campaign in South Carolina said McMaster's endorsement of Trump should not be minimized. It gave Trump's campaign legitimacy, he argued.

"We put our blood, sweat, and tears into this state alongside Henry McMaster, and John Warren was nowhere to be found," Evans said. "I don't think he's told us how he voted, and I believe there's a reason for that. I don't believe he supported the President."

Monday, when asked by WIS, a campaign spokesperson for Warren said the businessman voted for Senator Ted Cruz, not Trump, in the First in the South primary, but Warren did vote for Trump against Hillary Clinton in the general election.

The spokesperson for Warren pointed out that Warren never tried to hide the fact that he voted for Cruz.

No word yet on whether or not the President will campaign for McMaster – either in-person or on Twitter – ahead of the June 26th runoff.

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