By Leo Wolfson, State Politics Reporter
Former President Donald Trump described U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “rubber stamp” during a Saturday morning interview with Jeff Wallack on the “Wyoming is Right” radio show.
Trump also doubled down on past criticism of Gov. Mark Gordon, calling the Republican “very liberal” in his 30-minute interview.
Barrasso has been criticized by some in his own party after he stood behind McConnell, R-Kentucky, last summer while the minority leader announced his support for a gun control bill.
Despite standing with McConnell, Barrasso voted against the bill.
“Every time McConnell speaks, he’s always standing right behind him,” Trump said of the senior member of Wyoming’s Washington, D.C., delegation.
Trump also condemned McConnell for helping pass the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill in December, a bill Barrasso didn’t vote on.
Trump Once Liked Barrasso
Trump said he had a very favorable opinion of Barrasso initially when he first took office as the 45th president in 2016, but then didn’t hear from him much toward the end of his term.
“I sort of think he’s a good man, but he turned out to be really a flunky for Mitch McConnell,” Trump said.
Trump went on to say McConnell approves anything President Joe Biden wants.
McConnell has spoken against Trump and has urged the Republican Party to move on from the former president.
Trump had even fewer kind words for Gordon, mentioning the failure of last year’s Legislature to pass a bill on crossover voting.
Many Republicans believe Democrats cross over to register and vote as Republicans in Wyoming primaries.
Trump had called Gordon multiple times about this bill, which Gordon confirmed this past summer.
“I thought you should change it (registration law) because I was concerned that if you do that, maybe Liz Cheney would stand a chance,” Trump said.
Trump expressed appreciation for Wyoming voters and their clear message in ousting former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from office, calling her “a sick individual.”
Cheney was an outspoken critic of Trump and his continued insistence that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen from him.
Says Gov. Is ‘A Very Liberal Guy’
The former president said he was told by Gordon he couldn’t get the Legislature to pass the crossover bill, to which Trump said, “I don’t tend to believe.”
He also insinuated the governor may have also had other motives, and that “he led us along.”
Many have said crossover voting allowed Gordon to get elected in 2018. He won the 2022 Republican primary by an overwhelming margin.
“He’s a very liberal guy and I don’t think he represents the values and that’s the way he gets in, he gets the crossover vote,” Trump said.
He Wanted Biteman
Trump told Wallack he wanted state Sen. Bo Biteman, R-Ranchester, to run for governor in 2022.
Biteman told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that although he was very flattered by Trump’s support and loves him, he decided last year was not the right time to make a run for governor.
Biteman also said it’s too early to say if he will run in 2026.
Mail Ballots ‘Automatic Stealing Of Elections’
Trump wants all election voting performed on paper ballots, and on election day. He also wants all mail-in ballots prohibited unless the voter is seriously ill or a member of the military.
“Mail-in is automatic theft, it’s automatic stealing of elections,” he said. “We need honest elections, and we need borders in this country.”
His election philosophies run parallel to those of Secretary of State Chuck Gray, who Trump gave a shout out to Saturday.
Of all the secretary of state candidates across the Unites States in 2022, Gray was one of only two who continue to question the results of the 2020 election.
“Chuck is great,” Trump said. “He’s done a great job. We need 50 of him.”
Gray earned Trump’s endorsement during his campaign and has reiterated the former president’s claims about the 2020 election. He has pledged to remove ballot drop boxes and make ballot harvesting a felony in Wyoming, policies Trump supports.
More Cowboy State Praise
Trump said other candidates also may have been able to beat Cheney in the primary, but that U.S. Rep. Hageman, who he endorsed, did it “with great prestige.”
Trump also complimented Wyoming GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne and said he supports U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis.
In November, Lummis said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis should be considered the new leader of the Republican Party. The next month she voted to support a bill that codifies same-sex marriage into federal law.
The former president had complimentary words for Wyoming as a whole, saying “I love those people. That’s a great state.”
Trump mentioned how he won Wyoming with a larger margin than any other state in the 2020 election.
Wyoming’s Trump support “beat Alabama, it beat Tennessee,” he said.
‘Very Sad’ What Biden’s Doing To U.S.
Trump said he “could get anything” when bargaining with Mexico while president, referencing America’s leveraging power in economic discussion. He lamented Biden’s performance managing the border.
“It’s very sad what’s happening to this country,” he said.
Trump said people who immigrate to America from Central America “aren’t doing a very good job” in life, also making the claim many are coming from mental institutions.
He also criticized Biden’s military pullout from Afghanistan, even though it was his administration’s plan that was mostly followed by the Biden administration.
“We would’ve left at the same time, but we would’ve left with dignity,” he said.
Trump said it “is so sad” what has happened to energy in Wyoming.
Since taking office, Biden has imposed various moratoriums on federal oil drilling leases in the state.
“They’re taking away your rights, they’re taking away your wealth,” Trump said. “Quite frankly, they’re hurting our country very badly. The amount of money you’re talking about, the amount of income you’re talking about.”
Trump described Wyoming “as one of the most beautiful places on earth” but complained about the state allegedly being forced to put up wind turbines across its plains.
He said he will work to fight for Wyoming’s energy resources if elected president again in 2024.
Minerals Policy ‘Absolutely Insane’
Similarly, Trump is not a fan of the Green New Deal, which Biden has supported.
“You have such incredible wealth, such incredible good, clean, beautiful wealth right underneath your feet and our government won’t allow you to use it. It’s absolutely insane,” Trump said.
Conversely, he said Wyoming is sitting on top of “liquid gold” with its oil and coal resources.
“When you look at all these wind farms, they’re putting up everywhere,” he said. “No. 1, they don’t work. No. 2, they’re a very expensive form of energy.”
Although wind energy can be very expensive to put in use, there is no evidence that it doesn’t work altogether.
Trump also brought up a few of the negative aspects about electric vehicles, mentioning how their batteries are almost entirely made in China and are difficult to dispose of when depleted.
As far as Wyoming’s water rights being given away to outside parties, Trump said “that won’t even be discussed” if he wins a second term.