Enzi backs Barrasso amid threat of Republican challengers

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi rallied to the defense of Sen. John Barrasso, a fellow Republican who came under fire from former President Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon for not speaking out in Trump’s support.

“He attends more events in Wyoming to talk with people and to see specific problems than I think is physically possible. He knows Wyoming. He lives Wyoming and lives in Wyoming,” Enzi said of Barrasso.

On Saturday, Bannon said Barrasso and two other Republican senators “vote the right way,” but they hadn’t stepped up to criticize Tennessee U.S. Sen. Bob Corker for recently calling the Trump White House an “adult day care center.”

There was still time for a “mea culpa,” Bannon said, while two Republicans with ties to Bannon mull a run against Barrasso next year.

Jackson financier Foster Friess and Blackwater security company founder Erik Prince, who has a home west of Cody, both recently said they might challenge Barrasso.

Barrasso hasn’t announced any plans yet to seek re-election to a second full term.

“I am not going to join in speculation about who is running for what. But an assessment of Senator Barrasso’s job performance? Excellent,” Enzi said.

Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney declined to weigh in on Barrasso altogether. A Republican who launched a campaign against Enzi in 2013, Cheney dropped out in early 2014 after getting little support.

Cheney was elected to the U.S. House last year.

“The only campaign Rep. Cheney is focused on is her re-election,” Cheney spokeswoman Maddy Weast wrote in an email.

Barrasso disagreed with Corker’s remark, Barrasso spokeswoman Bronwyn Lance Chester told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2zfvFDP).

“Senator Barrasso has worked closely with President Trump and will continue to be a strong ally in Congress,” Chester said.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com


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