WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump swiped at the Democratic Senate candidate in Indiana on Saturday, calling attention to a report that his campaign is working to split Republican voters by paying for ads that support the Libertarian candidate.
Trump, who blasted Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in a tweet a day after holding a rally in Indianapolis, appeared to be reacting to a story in the Daily Beast noting that Indiana Democrats are buying ads on Facebook for the Libertarian Party candidate.
Trump questioned whether Donnelly, who is running against Republican Mike Braun in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate races, is “trying to steal the election.”
Rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads for his so-called opponent on the libertarian ticket. Donnelly is trying to steal the election? Isn’t that what Russia did!?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2018
“Rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads for his so-called opponent on the libertarian ticket,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Donnelly is trying to steal the election? Isn’t that what Russia did!?”
Trump’s decision to call attention to Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election was surprising. The president has pushed back on assessments from intelligence agencies that Kremlin-linked entities ran a stealth ad campaign intended to support him.
Indiana Democrats defended the Facebook ads, which tout Libertarian Lucy Brenton’s stance opposing taxes.
“The ads highlighting how Lucy Brenton is the true conservative in the Indiana Senate race are paid for by the Indiana Democratic Party,” party chairman John Zody said in a statement. “They are perfectly legal, factual, and accurately represent Lucy Brenton’s anti-tax record.”
The president is holding multiple rallies every day as he makes a final campaign swing ahead of Tuesday’s election, which will decide control of Congress.
He is expected to return to Indiana on Monday.
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