Former President Donald Trump is “just askin’” about Congressman Billy Long.
In a statement through his Save America PAC Wednesday, Trump signaled support for Long’s U.S. Senate campaign — albeit, stopped short of offering a full endorsement.
And the statement came on the heels of allegations former Gov. Eric Greitens, also a GOP contender for the open U.S. Senate seat, abused his wife and children. The accusations were made public earlier this week.
“Have the great people of Missouri been considering the big, loud, and proud personality of Congressman Billy Long for Senate? Do they appreciate what they have in him, a warrior and the first major political leader to say, ‘You better get on the Trump Train, it’s leaving the station,’” Trump said. “That was before I even announced I was running for President. This is not an Endorsement, but I’m just askin’?”
As Long tells it, he met with the former president one-on-one in Trump Tower in New York City for nearly an hour — just before he made his Senate candidacy official with an appearance on Fox News. Trump asked Long if he was “in” even without his backing, and Long said: “Mr. President, I’m going to win this with or without your endorsement.”
Long has represented Missouri’s 7th congressional district since 2011. Nestled in the southwest corner of Missouri, it includes Springfield and Branson and is the seat formerly held by outgoing Senator Roy Blunt, the man who has kicked up a GOP frenzy to replace him in the Senate.
With his infamous giant white cowboy hat atop his head and tennis shoes replacing his usual boots, Long is working on bolstering his statewide name ID — and he certainly isn’t going about it inconspicuously. Long and the team are traveling in a giant black and blue bus with his name and face on the side. It’s the “Billy Bus,” an homage to the “Trump Train.” He said he plans to hit county courthouses, ice cream socials, coffee shops, and hamburger joints and “just sit down and hear what’s on people’s minds.”
Trump has yet to endorse in the open U.S. Senate race, but the Republican candidates have all hastened to align themselves with the former president and his policies.
Aside from Long and Greitens, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, state Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, and attorney Mark McCloskey are vying for the seat.
Senator Josh Hawley and other GOP officials in Missouri, including the other candidates for the Senate seat, have called on Greitens to quit his campaign after his ex-wife accused him of abuse. (Greitens has denied the allegations and suggested Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is connected to the accusations.)
In an affidavit made public Monday, Sheena Greitens, the former governor’s ex-wife, accused Eric Greitens of being physically abusive toward her and their children and of manipulating and coercing her into publicly supporting his political ambitions.
“In early June 2018, I became afraid for my safety and that of our children at our home, which was fairly isolated, due to Eric’s unstable and coercive behavior,” she said in the affidavit. “This behavior included physical violence toward our children, such as cuffing our then three-year-old son across the face at the dinner table in front of me and yanking him around by his hair.”
Sheena Greitens described an incident that she said occurred in April 2018 when Eric Greitens knocked her down and took her cell phone, wallet, and keys. She said he later admitted to doing so in order to “prevent me from doing anything that might damage his political career.” She also said her son came home from a visit with Eric Greitens once “with a swollen face, bleeding gums, and loose tooth” that later had to be surgically removed. She said the son said Eric Greitens had hit him; Eric Greitens told her they had been “roughhousing,” Sheena Greitens said.
Sheena Greitens said multiple people, on at least three occasions, attempted to limit Eric Greitens’ access to firearms. She said she began to sleep in her children’s room “simply to keep them safe” after Eric Greitens refused to tell her where he kept his gun. She also said Eric Greitens threaten to commit suicide unless she provided public political support.
Additionally, Sheena Greitens alleged he threatened to use his connections as a former governor to law enforcement to prevent her from taking their children to her parents’ house “out of continued fear for our safety.”
Eric Greitens resigned as Missouri’s governor in 2018 amid investigations into sexual misconduct and campaign finance allegations.