“It was not a great performance by Trump; in fact, I thought it was a pretty crappy performance,” Moore told a crowd gathered in Washington earlier this month for the “Election Protection Summit” by the Trump-supporting FreedomWorks nonprofit organization.
Moore also conceded that Trump’s first debate against former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election was similarly “awful.”
“Oh my God, he was so bad in that debate, just awful,” Moore said at the Oct. 2 reception kicking off the conference in a video obtained by Wisconsin watchdog group Documented, which probes corporate influence on public policy.
The economist recalled leaving New York’s Hofstra University after the 2016 debate with his “buddy,” now-White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow. He told the audience, “my friend called me and said, ‘Steve, looks like you and Larry aren’t going to the White House any time soon.’”
But Moore said that Trump “rallied” and later “clobbered” Clinton in following debates, and that “that’s what’s going to happen” in Trump’s future face-offs with Biden — “God willing,” he added.
Speakers at the FreedomWorks conference railed against mail-in ballots and referred to contingency plans to challenge a potential Trump loss. Moore hailed the strong economy during the Trump administration, but also said he thought the election is going to be “really tight.”
The keynote speaker was prominent conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell, who just days earlier had attended the Sept. 26 White House superspreader event in the Rose Garden where Trump formally announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The following week, the president, first lady and more than 35 other people linked to the event or to people attending it tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mitchell was photographed at the conference without a mask amid a group of people. Almost no one at the conference wore masks or maintained social distancing guidelines to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. It was unclear if anyone had been told about Mitchell’s attendance at the Rose Garden event. FreedomWorks did not reply to HuffPost’s request for comment.
Moore suggested Sunday that the U.S. doesn’t need a $2 trillion stimulus package to help the nation’s businesses and workers weather the pandemic.
“The economy really is showing signs of picking up. I don’t care what the newspapers say,” he said on John Catsimatidis’ radio show on WABC 770.
Moore was attacked last year, even by Republicans, after Trump nominated him to be a governor on the Federal Reserve Board.
Critics condemned him as a partisan fiscal conservative with no real expertise or track record. Moore notoriously played a key role in the disastrous 2012 tax cut experiment in Kansas that led to state revenues almost instantly plunging $700 million.
Moore eventually withdrew his name from consideration.
HuffPost could not immediately reach Moore for comment about his assessment of Trump’s debate performance.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter