Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged President Trump to speak out against West Virginia Senate candidate Don Blankenship, The New York Times reported Monday.
Trump sent a tweet Monday that said Blankenship, a candidate in the Republican Senate primary, could not win in the general election.
McConnell asked the president in a phone call to reject Blankenship, a Republican official familiar with the phone call told The Times.
Blankenship responded to Trump's tweet, saying, "West Virginia will send the swamp a message — no one, and I mean no one, will tell us how to vote. As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump."
Blankenship served a year in federal prison after being convicted in conspiring to violate mine safety rules, following a 2010 mining disaster in which 29 people died, The Times noted.
White House aides and Republicans in the Senate had been discussing whether Trump should comment on Blankenship and decided he should if it looked like Blankenship could win, three officials said, The Times reported.
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