President Donald Trump says he’s returning a favor by recording a campaign robocall in the Senate Pennsylvania primary for one of his earliest supporters in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Tuesday is Election Day, and I need you to go out and vote for my good friend, Lou Barletta, a very special guy,” Trump says in the recorded call set to be released on Monday.
In the two-minute call, Trump points to Barletta’s early backing of him in the 2016 presidential race. Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in the contest.
“He was with me early on before everyone else started jumping on board, Trump says in the call. “It took courage for Lou to do that, and I’ll never forget it. That’s why I’m standing with Lou Barletta now.”
Trump highlights Barletta’s conservative immigration positions and his support for the GOP tax overhaul that passed in December.
“Like me, Lou Barletta is strong on the wall, tough on immigration, and has already cut your taxes,” the President says. “He was with us all the way. If you like all the others want to keep it going this way, go out and vote for Lou. He’s helped me all the way down the line.”
Trump also attacks Barletta’s would-be Democratic rival, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, as “Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s guy, and he’s been a disaster in the Senate.”
Politico was the first to report on Trump’s robocall.
Barletta, a four-term congressman representing the Pennsylvania 11th, entered the Senate race last August on the promise he’ll make “Pennsylvania and America great again,” faces state Rep. Jim Christiana in the Republican primary Tuesday. Trump endorsed Barletta over Twitter in February.
Before joining Congress, Barletta was mayor of Hazleton and enacted tough measures to crack down on illegal immigration, including one that allowed the city to impose fines on landlords who rented to undocumented immigrants and deny permits to businesses who employed them (the ordinance was struck down in federal court).
As mayor, Barletta also did an interview with a fringe publication that promotes Holocaust denial and headlined a rally where a political activist and musician who has both questioned the Holocaust and promoted conspiracies about the September 11, 2001 attacks, also spoke and performed, CNN’s KFile reported. Barletta’s deputy campaign manager told CNN that Barletta was not aware of those individuals’ background.
CNN’s David Wright and Dan Merica contributed to this report.