Trump was upset by his connection to Sean Parnell's faltering Senate campaign and blamed Donald Jr. for the fallout after his endorsement: report
Trump in recent weeks was dismayed by his link to Sean Parnell's faltering campaign, Politico said.
Trump had endorsed Parnell and reportedly blamed Donald Jr. for his ties to the Senate campaign.
Parnell suspended his campaign Monday after losing custody of his children amid abuse allegations.
Former President Donald Trump in recent weeks expressed dismay at the state of Sean Parnell's Senate campaign in Pennsylvania and blamed his son Donald Jr. for his ties to the faltering campaign, Politico reported.
Parnell, an Army veteran and former congressional candidate who was highly touted by Trump's son and endorsed by the former president in September, suspended his campaign on Monday after losing a child-custody battle.
A judge in Butler County, Pennsylvania, awarded Parnell's estranged wife, Laurie Snell, primary custody and sole legal custody of their three children, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Earlier this month, Snell testified that Parnell choked her until she fought back to escape and that he hit their children and repeatedly hurled obscenities at her, The Inquirer reported.
With the ensuing turmoil surrounding Parnell, the Republican candidate chose to end his once promising campaign.
"There is nothing more important to me than my children, and while I plan to ask the court to reconsider, I can't continue with a Senate campaign," he said in a statement on Monday. "My focus right now is 100% on my children, and I want them to know I do not have any other priorities and will never stop fighting for them."
A source told Politico that before Parnell's exit, Trump was "fixated" on the situation, expressing disappointment with being connected to the campaign's struggles, and couldn't believe the developments in Parnell's custody battle. Donald Jr. had been a catalyst for his father's endorsement of Parnell, Politico reported, adding that the deterioration of the Pennsylvania Republican's campaign was disconcerting to the former president.
Despite Snell's allegations earlier this month, Trump did not withdraw his support for Parnell.
Trump's team had moved forward with a January fundraiser for Parnell at the former president's Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida, according to Politico.
Trump's and Parnell's teams did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.
The GOP is now tasked with getting a handle on the still fluid Senate race in Pennsylvania as it seeks to rally behind a successor to the retiring two-term Sen. Pat Toomey.
With Parnell in the rearview mirror, the remaining Republican candidates include Jeff Bartos, a real-estate developer, and Carla Sands, who served as the US ambassador to Denmark under Trump. David McCormick, a combat veteran who runs the prominent hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, has also been mentioned as a prospective candidate. Former Rep. Ryan Costello, a moderate Republican from the vote-rich Philadelphia suburbs who served in Congress from 2015 to 2019, might also jump into the race, a source told Politico.
And Mehmet Öz, the cardiothoracic surgeon and longtime television personality known as Dr. Oz, has made some behind-the-scenes moves to enter the race.
Democrats see Pennsylvania — a state narrowly carried by President Joe Biden in 2020 — as one of their best pickup opportunities in their quest to retain control of the Senate next year.
Democratic candidates in the race include Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Montgomery County Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and US Rep. Conor Lamb.
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