While President Trump criticized Rep. Mia Love for distancing herself from him during this election — saying that’s why she “lost,” even though her race is still too close to call — it turns out she did accept some late help from the president.
Trump recorded a 90-second robocall for Love, which her campaign put to limited use.
“It went out on Election Day,” said Dave Hansen, Love’s campaign manager. “We sent it to a few thousand people who we identified as strong Trump supporters who had not yet voted.”
He added that Trump’s “people offered to do it” shortly before the election, “and we took them up on it.” Hansen said the Love campaign had not sought other help, and accepted what it thought would help.
At a post-election press conference on Wednesday, Trump harshly criticized GOP House members — including Love by name — who failed to wholeheartedly embrace his agenda, saying that is why Republicans lost control of the U.S. House.
Trump said Love had called him “all the time” asking for help to free Utahn Josh Holt from imprisonment in Venezuela. But he complained her campaign then distanced itself from the administration.
“Mia Love gave me no love and she lost,” Trump said. “Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
Hansen said the robocall Trump recorded “talked about Mia and what she did to free Josh Holt.” Then “he made a reference to ‘liberal Ben McAdams,’ and said if you elect him you are going to get Nancy Pelosi” as the new U.S. House speaker.
Then Trump talked about the strong economy, “then he made one more reference that if you vote for McAdams you are going to get Pelosi.”
Hansen said the offer for the robocall was the only help “we were interested in. If we had pushed, we might have been able to get more — but we didn’t.”
Trump is far less popular in Utah than other Republican presidents have been for decades. And Trump has higher disapproval ratings in the 4th District than most areas of the state, with about 56 percent of district voters disapproving of his performance, according to an October poll.
Love said during the campaign that she would work with the president when he is right, and oppose him when he is wrong. She criticized him for such things as proposing to get rid of “birthright citizenship” by executive order, and for reportedly calling Haiti and some Central American and African nations “s---hole countries.”
Democrat Ben McAdams attacked Love saying she voted with Trump more than 95 percent of the time, and said he would put people before party.
Updated counts as of Thursday show McAdams leading the race 51.77 percent to 48.22 percent. But relatively few ballots have been counted in Love’s GOP stronghold in Utah County.