In a robocall that many Morgan County received earlier this month, a couple of questions that were asked focused on Charles Trump and the Tea Party.
In one, the robocall woman asks — “Some say Charlie Trump is a supporter of an extreme Tea Party agenda and would support eliminating Social Security. How likely are you to believe such claims against Charlie Trump?”
In another, she asks — “If you heard someone say, in an advertisement on radio or TV, that Charlie Trump is a supporter of an extreme Tea Party agenda, who would favor eliminating Social Security, how likely would you be to believe such claims?”
Trump, a Republican lawyer from Morgan County, is running against the incumbent Democrat, Donald Cookman, for the West Virginia Senate seat in District 15 — which includes Morgan, Hampshire and parts of Berkeley and Mineral Counties.
Earlier this month, the Cookman campaign filed a complaint with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office alleging that the robocall was an illegal push poll for Trump and that the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity was behind it.
Trump says he doesn’t know who is behind the robocall and points out that many people who heard the question about Trump supporting “an extreme Tea Party agenda” thought the poll was meant to disparage him.
As it turns out, Trump is not averse to the Tea Party.
In fact, last Friday, Trump traveled to Romney to speak to the Hampshire County Tea Party.
Trump said he had a “special affinity and admiration” for the group.
About 30 Tea Partiers came to hear Trump deliver his stump speech, which focused on traditional conservative values of smaller government — “government has to learn how to say no” — reform and renewal, lower taxes (“Texas has done it, why can’t we?” Trump asked) and increased civic participation.
Trump said that he would have voted against a $25 million tax break that the legislature passed on the last day of the session for West Virginia’s only billionaire Jim Justice, the owner of the Greenbrier Resort.
When asked whether he would have voted for a $1.50 increase in the minimum wage, which passed earlier this year, Trump said that he probably would have voted for it, but “I’d have to hold my nose if I did.”
Trump said he would have voted against a bill, aimed at crippling West Virginia’s meth problem, that would have required a prescription for pseudoephedrine. The bill was defeated.
While much of the discussion focused on increased civic participation, Tea Party extremism boiled to the surface throughout the evening.
One woman wanted to know if Trump was aware the the United Nations was planning on taking over the United States through a program known as Agenda 21. Trump said he wasn’t aware of Agenda 21.
One man urged people to read Diana West, a controversial writer who argues that during the New Deal the United States, the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was controlled by Soviet agents.
Conservative commentator Ronald Radosh recently critiqued West’s newest book, calling her “McCarthy on Steroids.”
During the question and answer period, Morgan County’s Dr. Matt Hahn questioned Trump on the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Trump said that his opponent was taking money from labor unions and trial lawyers and was outraising him three to one.
But Trump said he was opposed to public financing because he “worries that the cure is worse than the disease.”
At this point, a pastor in the group, who identified himself as Kenneth Lake, said that he agreed with Dr. Hahn, that money was corrupting politics.
“Take the homosexual lobby,” Lake said. “The homosexuals have the money and they keep pushing their agenda onto the American people.”
At this point, Bibi Hahn of Morgan County got up and walked out of the room.
“I can’t take this anymore,” Hahn said as she walked out.
Pastor Lake then said a prayer to end the meeting.