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Screenshot of Ben Toma appearance on CNN Romania, Nov 18, 2022.

Toma Told CNN Trump Cannot Win Arizona

Hamadeh camp unearths 2022 clip from Romanian news

By Ken Kurson, January 17, 2024 10:13 am

CNN Romania? Is that even a thing? Apparently so. And according to the Hamadeh for Congress campaign, Speaker Ben Toma told the network in 2022, “I support Ron DeSantis because Donald Trump cannot win in my state, Arizona.”

Trump, the frontrunner for a third consecutive Republican presidential nomination, has endorsed Hamadeh for Congress in Arizona’s 8th District. Toma has endorsed DeSantis for president. His assertion that Trump “cannot win” Arizona will presumably play badly among Trump supporters in Arizona’s August primary.

Toma was born in Romania and lived there until his family bravely escaped the then-Soviet satellite. He was elected in 2016 to represent the 27th district in the House, and became Speaker in 2023.

The Globe’s Romanian language skills aren’t what they should be, so this is going strictly by what the Hamadeh campaign says the clip portrays. The blond presenter is speaking to Ben Toma on November 18, 2022, shortly after the 2022 elections that were widely regarded as disappointing for Republican candidates, who failed to pick up as many seats as expected in both Arizona and nationawide.

CNN: The discussion in the United States is about who will be the candidate from the Republican Party in the presidential elections. I would like to ask you, do you know Donald Trump? Which candidate do you support Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis?

Ben Toma: I must tell you that I support Ron DeSantis because Donald Trump cannot win in my state, Arizona. He lost two times in a row, the last time, and now, through his candidates, they have lost. So, irrespective of my opinion about him, what is important is that if you have Democrats who win, what they do economically and policies about the family cannot be supported. Ron DeSantis has a good chance to win in Arizona in one of the most important Presidential elections.

Not surprisingly, the Hamadeh campaign is now making an issue of Toma’s apostasy. In a tweet that calls the tape from over two years ago “new video,” Hamadeh refers to Toma as having thrown President Trump’s preferred candidates “under the bus.” That’s a reference to the fact that votes for Hamadeh’s own ultra-tight race for Attorney General, as well as Kari Lake’s race for Governor, were still being tallied and disputed at the time Toma made his appearance on CNN Romania.

Both Toma and Hamadeh are competing to replace Debbie Lesko, whose surprise decision not to seek re-election set off a frenzy of activity among Republican candidates, also including Blake Masters and Anthony Kern. The fact that Hamadeh’s oppo research team is watching Romanian tv from two years ago signals just how hot this race may get as the primary nears.

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