A blast from the past: Mack Mattingly endorses Donald Trump

Thirty-six years ago, Mack Mattingly presaged Georgia’s current Republican era by toppling the Talmadge dynasty. Specifically, the man derided as a lowly typewriter salesman – he once worked for IBM and had an office-supply business – ousted Herman Talmadge from the U.S. Senate.

Former U.S. senator Mack Mattingly, in a 2004 AJC file photo.

Former U.S. senator Mack Mattingly, in a 2004 AJC file photo.

Granted, a certain Lt. Gov. Zell Miller had wounded Talmadge in a Democratic primary. And Democrats took the seat back six years later. Nonetheless, in 1980, Mattingly was cutting edge. And is still so today, in a fashion. This morning, the St. Simons Island resident sent word that he’s endorsing Donald Trump’s run for the White House and that he sees a little of himself in the billionaire.

Even though, only last year, the former senator from Georgia was at Jeb Bush’s campaign kick-off in Miami. A few of Mattingly’s thoughts on the current situation:

“I know what it is like to come from the private sector with everyone saying you can’t win and defeat a political dynasty and establishment. And I believe Donald Trump can do the same thing this year.”

Mattingly would later serve as assistant secretary-general for defense for NATO, then as U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles Islands. But he rode into the U.S. Senate on the coattails of Ronald Reagan. Wrote Mattingly, now 85:

 “First, I was running for the U.S. Senate in the same year that Ronald Reagan was running for president in 1980. While they were or are distinctly different people, I hear many of the same arguments about Trump now that I heard about Reagan in 1980. His critics tried to portray Ronald Reagan as an intemperate ‘cowboy’ who would ‘push the nuclear button’ at a moment’s notice. So now I hear the same thing about Donald Trump and just roll my eyes.”

Mattingly called out – though not by name — Republicans such as Mitt Romney who are backing a third-party movement:

“I’m really disappointed in some of the names I am hearing because I knew and trusted them in my campaigns. I am also deeply disappointed in some former elected officials who I have supported in the past if they are truly involved in some silly third party effort. When it comes to saying who is a ‘real Republican’ and ‘a real conservative’ I think I’ve earned my stripes and what I think they are reportedly doing is counterproductive.”


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