Former President Donald Trump's decision to endorse Republican Katie Britt in Alabama's Senate primary runoff represents an about-face for the former president who previously belittled Britt when he was backing GOP Rep. Mo Brooks.
Trump announced his endorsement of Britt on Friday, calling her "a fearless America First Warrior," while criticizing Brooks.
It's the latest twist and turn in a state that's proven to be uncomfortable political terrain for Trump despite his own massive victories there in 2016 and 2020 (Trump backed appointed Republican Sen. Luther Strange in the 2017 GOP special primary, switched to nominee Roy Moore after Strange lost, and Moore lost the special general election). Britt's certainly never run against Trump — she touted how she helped "build President Trump's border wall" in her announcement video and called for a forensic audit of the 2020 election — but Trump has been critical of Britt at times.
Here's a timeline demonstrating how the former president's public statements on the race tell the story of his shift.
April 7, 2021: Trump backs Brooks
Trump endorsed Brooks, a stalwart promoter of his attempts to discredit the 2020 election, in a statement that praised him and offered his signature "Complete and Total Endorsement."
"Few Republicans have as much COURAGE and FIGHT as Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks. Mo is a great Conservative Republican leader, who will stand up for America First no matter what obstacles the Fake News Media, RINOs, or Socialist Democrats may place in his path," Trump said.
July 10, 2021: Trump blasts Britt as an 'assistant'
About a month after Britt jumped into the Senate race, Trump came out with a new statement attacking her as a tool of her former boss, retiring Alabama GOP Sen. Richard Shelby, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"I see that the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, is pushing hard to have his “assistant” fight the great Mo Brooks for his Senate seat. She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants," he said.
Britt served as Shelby's top aide in the Senate, his chief of staff, and his campaign manager. She also worked as the president and CEO of Alabama’s business council.
August 21, 2021: Brooks rallies with Trump, makes comment that will haunt him
Trump held a rally in the state where he echoed that praise of Brooks, albeit briefly.
"With your help, we’re going to elect our friend, Mo Brooks, to the U.S. Senate," he said to the crowd.
"Mo is a fearless warrior for your sacred right to vote, and so many other things," he added after calling Brooks up to the stage.
But there was another moment at that rally that would turn out to be the most important development for this race. Brooks, who helped to spearhead the objections in Congress to the 2020 election and continues to claim Trump won, called on Republicans to keep fighting in future elections.
"Godless, evil, amoral Socialist Democrats are on the march. And we have to fight back and we have to beat them in '22 and we have to beat them in 2024," he said.
"There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you. Put that behind you. Yes, look forward," he said to a smattering of boos from the crowd.
March 23, 2022: Trump withdraws endorsement
Pointing specifically to Brooks' comments at the 2021 rally, Trump announced he would "withdrawing my Endorsement."
“Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you.'" Trump said.
Sources familiar with the dynamic between Trump and Brooks told NBC at the time that there were other issues at play, including Brooks’ poor fundraising and lackluster poll results.
That same day, Brooks told NBC News that Trump had asked him to "rescind the 2020 elections" sometime after Sept. 1, 2021, and brushed aside Trump's label of him as "woke."
“There’s no one in Alabama with the brain size of a pea or larger who would believe that I’m a woke liberal,” he said.
Trump ended his statement teasing another endorsement in the race in the future.
June 11, 2022: Trump endorses Britt
Last week, Trump endorsed Britt through a statement, weeks after she took the top billing in the first round of Alabama's GOP Senate primary (the race went to a runoff between Britt and Brooks, the top-two finishers, because no one won the majority of the vote).
"Katie Britt, on the other hand, is a fearless America First Warrior. The opposition says Katie is close to Mitch McConnell, but actually, she is not—in fact, she believes that McConnell put Mike Durant in the race to stop her, which is very possibly true," Trump said, comparing Britt to Brooks.