Occasionally a congressman tries to help his opponent – even though it’s entirely tongue-in-cheek.
That’s what’s happening in New Jersey’s 7th district, where freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) wants to call attention to the presence of his likely Republican challenger, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-Westfield) at President Donald Trump’s Keep America Great rally in Wildwood.
The Malinowski campaign is offering some “helpful tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Trump rally.”
“Advice from Tom to Tom,” they call it.
Malinowski wants to make sure that Kean gets there on time, referring to an incident in during the 2006 U.S. Senate race where Kean missed a fundraiser Vice President Dick Cheney was attending for him in North Jersey. He said he was stuck in traffic on Route 1.
The staff at Malinowski for Congress say they sent Kean driving directions for the 2 hours and 19 minutes “non-rally day” drive from Westfield to Wildwood.
“So be sure to leave yourself plenty of time,” they said.
But Kean won’t need the directions. His campaign manager tweeted earlier that they are already on a train from Washington to attend the rally. Kean was there for fundraising meetings.
The advice doesn’t stop at jokes about Kean’s campaign from fourteen years ago.
Instead, Team Malinowski seeks to tie Kean to Trump.
“If you get some alone time with the president, remember that he is easily triggered,” they said. “Here are some words and phrases you should avoid: ‘the Gateway Tunnel,’ ‘the SALT deduction,’ and ‘oil drilling off the Jersey coast. These issues are important to New Jersey, but your future depends on keeping him happy.”
Malinowski’s campaign also advises Kean on how to win Trump’s approval.
“If you want the president to like you, he’ll want to see you applaud him,” Team Malinowski said. “Remember to stand up and cheer when he calls the FBI ‘scum’ and journalists the ‘enemy of the people,’ or insults the physical appearance of his political opponents, or says that windmills cause cancer, or praises Kim Jong Un, or insists that his call with the Ukrainian president was ‘perfect.’ Civility and honesty are important, but today is about undying loyalty to President Trump.”
And the Malinowski camp thinks Kean should reach out to Wildwood mayor Pete Byron and offer help “recovering lost funds when the Trump campaign stiffs the city on their bills.”
“Leadership means making choices about what you stand for, and who you stand with. We congratulate you for making such a clear choice,” Team Malinowski said.
The Kean campaign pushed back on Malinowski’s advice.
“If Tom Malinowski had any meaningful insights into working with President Trump or working across the aisle on behalf of the people he was elected to serve then we’d be closer to finding a solution on removing the SALT cap and getting a deal on the Gateway Tunnel done,” said Theresa Winegar, Kean’s campaign manager. “Truth is he is a partisan Washington insider whose political agenda is at the top of his priority list while his constituents are at the bottom.”
This story was updated at 12:28 PM with comment from the Kean campaign.