Representative Alex Mooney attends a rightwing conference in Paris, France
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson was originally supposed to be the headline speaker but apparently did not go. (The speculation was that it would not look good – given that the U.S. still lacked a budget.) Here is how Raw Story described the conference:
The group Republicans Overseas will host the World Freedom Initiative on Friday and Saturday in Paris, France, where Johnson will join 22 speakers, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), former Donald Trump campaign manager David Bossie and various right-wing figures from France, Hungary and other European nations, reported KELO-TV.
"WFI has the basic goal of bringing the world’s like-minded conservative, patriotic and center right leaders from across the political spectrum together to create strong and lasting ties, define common priorities of national interest, find areas for bilateral and multilateral cooperation, learn from each other’s experiences, engage in frank and constructive exchanges, and facilitate fact-finding initiatives between nations’ political leaders," states the event's website.
(Note -- I have yet to see any mention of Mooney and this conference in any state media.)
A closer look at Alex Mooney's attendance
Here was the title of Mooney’s panel:
WINNING ELECTION CAMPAIGN STRATEGIES: TRUMP’S 2016 CAMPAIGN MANAGERS TELL THEIR SECRETS GOP GRASSROOTS LEADERS & CONGRESSMEN REVEAL CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES SOCIAL MEDIA, GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE & 2024 US ELECTION CHALLENGES
“Winning election campaign strategies”? Interesting choice of panels for Mooney who currently trails Jim Justice by double digits. I would think Mooney’s advice was quite simple: “In West Virginia, get Donald Trump’s endorsement.”
The conference brochure also included Mooney’s biography:
I did a quick look at Mooney’s biographical claims:
The Stream Act
Mooney did introduce the STREAM Act in 2016. According to Congress’ bill-tracking service:
This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on January 12, 2016 but was never passed by the Senate.
Okay, I give up: if the act never became law, how did it save 80,000 coal jobs?
The appropriations package
Mooney voted for the appropriations package, H.R. 1865, in 2019. Did he do anything to get the bill passed? I could find nothing -- it passed by 297 to 120.
The Preserving American History Act
Mooney was one of 22 co-sponsors on the January 2021 Preserving American History Act. It did not come up for a final vote.
Eight years in Congress and these are Mooney's highlights?
The Governor is not forgetting his allegiance:
Polling Trump’s influence
Justice still has a huge lead in the Republican race. Today, Hoppy Kercheval cited a just-released poll from Mark Blankenship Enterprises:
This independent poll of likely West Virginia Republican and Independent Primary Election voters by Mark Blankenship Enterprises found that if election were held today, 61 percent said they would vote for Justice, 28 percent for Mooney, while 11 percent were undecided.
Trump’s endorsement apparently made the difference:
Donald Trump’s recent endorsement is a huge advantage for Justice. Sixty-nine percent of the Republicans and Independents who responded said Trump’s backing makes them “more likely” to vote for Justice for Senate.
For the last few years, I have frequently suggested that the West Virginia Republican Party ought to be renamed the West Virginia Trump Party. It ought to be done, now. At this point, I cannot think of anything that Donald Trump could say or do that would lessen his influence in this state. In addition to plotting to overthrow our elected government, he has attacked the military, including its leadership. He has called for and made plans for the imprisonment of his political opponents. He is racist, sexist, xenophobic, antisemitic, and anti-democratic. And while America has always had demagogues, I believe that Donald Trump is especially dangerous. That so many of my fellow West Virginians unconditionally support him has me wondering whether they are the American norm or the exception? I wish I knew.
A postscript. Before I publish a long, involved piece, I frequently check online for any new information that might alter or add-to what I’ve written. I’m glad I checked; here’s a new article by Leah Willingham who covers West Virginia for the Associated Press:
The Wheeling Intelligencer frequently carries Willingham’s articles and this is an unusually strong statement from West Virginia's senior senator. Will they publish this? (Their decision will say a lot about the paper.)
The morning Wheeling Intelligencer did cover some of Manchin's criticism of Trump at the bottom of a 1,000 word article about the possibility of a third-party run by the senator:
Likewise, Manchin expressed grave concerns about a return of former President Donald Trump to the White House. He said if Trump were elected again, “it could be the destruction of democracy in America.”
Manchin noted he tried to work with Trump, whom he found “gracious and engaging.” But he senses Trump now just wants to be president to punish those who have criticized and pushed against him.
“It was a broken system. He came in, and he shook it up,” Manchin said of Trump. “But you can’t take the most powerful office in the world and use it for vengeful purposes.”