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Donald Trump Jr. calls out Pinellas congressional candidate Amanda Makki for using his image

The president's son also tweeted that he's heard "great things" about another candidate: Anna Paulina Luna.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz stumped for congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, far right, on Friday outside Conservative Grounds coffee shop in Largo.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz stumped for congressional candidate Anna Paulina Luna, far right, on Friday outside Conservative Grounds coffee shop in Largo. [ JOSH SOLOMON | Times ]
Published Aug. 14, 2020|Updated Aug. 14, 2020

Donald Trump Jr. made one thing clear on Friday: he doesn’t endorse Amanda Makki in the Republican primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

President Donald Trump’s son and namesake sought to dispel any rumors after Makki sent out a campaign mailer featuring a photo of her with Trump Jr.

“You’d think a candidate would ask before plastering my picture everywhere, implying support,” Trump Jr. tweeted on Friday. He quote tweeted Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Steve Contorno, who pointed out Makki’s mailer.

In fact, Trump Jr. may be pulling for one of Makki’s opponents, but stopped short of offering a full-fledged endorsement.

“To be clear, I haven’t endorsed in this race but have heard great things about (Anna Paulina Luna), a conservative, pro-Trump Air Force veteran,” Trump Jr.’s tweet continued.

Makki, a lobbyist, said in a statement Friday that she did not intend to imply support or an endorsement from the president or his family.

“Many Republicans across the country have used pictures of the President and his family in campaign material as a show of support for him and his family,” the statement said. “I will continue to be a steadfast supporter of our President and have the utmost respect for Don Jr. and their entire family.”

Trump Jr.’s injection into the race just four days from election day came up at a rally Luna held on Friday with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz outside Conservative Grounds, a conservative-themed coffee shop in Largo.

Gaetz, who is among President Trump’s closest allies in Congress, said he talked with the president’s son on Friday. Trump Jr. asked Gaetz why Makki was putting up photos of the two of them.

“I don’t even know her, I think she just showed up at some event,” Trump Jr. said, according to Gaetz. “And a matter of fact, it was today that Donald Trump Jr. put out the word that he has not endorsed Amanda Makki, and that he believes that a very strong candidate in this race is Anna Paulina Luna.”

The primary election is Aug. 18. Luna and Makki also face veteran and former firefighter George Buck and former lawyer Sheila Griffin. The winner will face U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in the November general election.

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