After an intense Alabama Republican primary that pitted Luther Strange, the U.S. Senate candidate backed by Donald Trump and the GOP, against former White House staffer Steve Bannon‘s Roy Moore, the latter came out on top. Strange later conceded the race to Moore, while the president apparently signaled that the race’s torrential waters had calmed after he and Moore spoke on the phone. However, as the New York Times and many others covering the primary quickly noticed, Trump quickly deleted three separate tweets supporting Strange’s campaign before offering his congratulations to the winner.
Among other things, the tweets exclaimed things like “ALABAMA, get out and vote for Luther Strange – he has proven to me that he will never let you down! #MAGA,” and “Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for ‘Big Luther.'” Those two were published early Tuesday morning, as primary voting was set to start in the state. The night before Trump wrote, “Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Alabama. Vote for Senator Luther Strange, tough on crime & border – will never let you down!”
As of this writing, the White House has provided no official comment regarding the deleted tweets — possibly because it’s illegal for Trump to delete them. However, as one CNN reporter covering the primary late Tuesday tweeted, Trump insisted he alone would be blamed if Strange lost: “They’re going to say, ‘Donald Trump, the President of the United States, was unable to pull his candidate across the line. It is a terrible, terrible moment for Trump. This is a total embarrassment.'” Of course, Trump was likely projecting his own feelings onto the matter when he said this, but judging by the three deleted tweets, it seems his ego was likely hurt following Moore’s win.
Even so, the president tweeted his congratulations to Moore and thanked Strange for his efforts after the results were called late Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, Trump added that he had spoken to Moore the previous evening. “Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race,” he tweeted. “He will help to #MAGA!”