Former Alabama judge Roy Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama’s Republican primary runoff last night. The heated and closely watched race determined which candidate would challenge Democrats for the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and was considered a test for the strength of President Donald Trump‘s sway in the area.
Trump had been an enthusiastic backer of Strange, even holding a rally for him on Friday. But after the defeat, Trump posted congratulations to Moore on Twitter.
Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 27, 2017
However, Trump simultaneously deleted enthusiastic endorsements of Strange from his Twitter account made in the days before the election. The New York Times reported Trump deleted three tweets backing Sessions’ temporary replacement in the Senate.
The tweets read:
- ALABAMA, get out and vote for Luther Strange – he has proven to me that he will never let you down! #MAGA [https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/912670906828443648]
- Luther Strange has been shooting up in the Alabama polls since my endorsement. Finish the job – vote today for “Big Luther.”[https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/912631781098221568]
- Big election tomorrow in the Great State of Alabama. Vote for Senator Luther Strange, tough on crime & border – will never let you down! [https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/912494675206053888]
Trump has left other tweets supporting Strange up.
Will be in Alabama tonight. Luther Strange has gained mightily since my endorsement, but will be very close. He loves Alabama, and so do I!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017
Trump deleting tweets from his @realDonaldTrump account has been an issue of debate ever since he won the election in November. The Presidential Records Act requires that communications from the president be kept and archived, and two government watchdog groups sued the president this summer, arguing that deleting tweets from his personal account violates federal law.
Last night, Trump also deleted a tweet where he got the date of the special election wrong, calling on Alabamans to vote for Moore against Democrat Doug Jones in November.
The election is in December.