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Trump withdraws endorsement of Mo Brooks in Alabama Senate race

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday pulled his endorsement from Alabama Republican Senate candidate Mo Brooks, who has struggled in recent polling. 

Trump endorsed Brooks in April 2021 in the race for retiring Senator Richard Shelby's seat, when Brooks had a substantial double-digit lead in the polls. In that announcement, Trump called Brooks, who is currently a Republican congressman, a "great Conservative Republican leader, who will stand up for America First" and said the congressman was " fighting for voter integrity (like few others)."

In the statement revoking his endorsement, Trump said that Brooks had "made a horrible mistake recently when he went 'woke'" when he told people to put the 2020 election "behind you" during a rally last August in Alabama. 

"Since he decided to go in another direction, so have I, and I am hereby withdrawing my Endorsement of Mo Brooks for the Senate," Trump said in a statement. "I don't think the great people of Alabama will disagree with me. Election Fraud must be captured and stopped, or we won't have a Country anymore. I will be making a new Endorsement in the near future!"

Election 2022 Alabama Senate
FILE - Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ark., speaks Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, at a rally in support of President Donald Trump called the "Save America Rally."  Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Last August, at the Alabama rally, Brooks was met by boos when he urged Alabamans to move on from 2020.

"There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you. Put that behind you," Brooks said. 

An Alabama News and Gray Television poll released on Tuesday showed 34.6% of Republican voters said they would choose retired Army helicopter pilot Mike Durant, while 28.4% would support Katie Britt, retiring Shelby's former chief of staff, and 16.1% said they would support Brooks. 

Also in August, that same poll showed Brooks with the support of 40.8% of voters, although Durant had not yet entered the race. 

"When I endorsed Mo Brooks, he took a 44-point lead and was unstoppable. He then hired a new campaign staff who 'brilliantly' convinced him to 'stop talking about the 2020 Election,'" Trump, who regularly refers to his endorsement as the most powerful one in politics, said in his statement.

There is no evidence that widespread voter fraud swayed the 2020 election. The accuracy of the election has been confirmed by dozens of court rulings, audits and recounts. 

A source connected with the Durant campaign said that Durant met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, ahead of Trump's announcement about pulling support from Brooks. 

"I think the president saw what was happening with Mo Brooks and his campaign. You know, he was tanking, he was running third," Shelby told CBS News. 

Shelby said he hasn't talked to Trump about endorsing Britt, "but everybody would like his endorsement."

Brooks released a lengthy statement claiming he's "still the most conservative candidate in the race" and took issue with Trump's characterization of him. 

"I have not changed. I am the only proven America First candidate in this Senate race. I am the only candidate who fought voter fraud and election theft when it counted, between November 3 and January 6," Brooks said. 

He added, "I repeat what has prompted President Trump's ire. The only legal way America can prevent 2020's election debacle is for patriotic Americans to focus on and win the 2022 and 2024 elections so that we have the power to enact laws that give us honest and accurate elections."

"President Trump asked me to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency," Brooks continued. "As a lawyer, I've repeatedly advised President Trump that January 6 was the final election contest verdict and neither the U.S. Constitution nor the U.S. Code permit what President Trump asks."

For hours after the former president had taken back his endorsement, Brooks' Senate campaign Twitter bio still proudly stated that he had been "Endorsed by President Trump." By midafternoon, the statement had been removed.

Brooks has also made positive comments about Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose relationship with Trump soured after Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. In a January radio interview, Brooks said Sessions was "one of the best senators we ever had."

Brooks noted that Sessions played two roles, one as senator and one as attorney general, adding, "I did not interact with him personally much as attorney general, but I did as U.S. senator. And as a U.S. senator, he was great."

Earlier this week, Brooks seemed to have tried to repair his relationship with the former president by pledging not to support Senator Mitch McConnell as GOP Senate leader if elected. Trump has frequently attacked McConnell in public and private remarks, causing some Senate candidates to say they won't support McConnell. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed to this report.

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