Not everyone was wowed by Kevin Costner’s decision to endorse Rep. Liz Cheney in the Wyoming Republican primary.
Mr. Costner, who plays a Montana rancher on Paramount’s hit streaming series “Yellowstone,” created a political stir by posing for a photo wearing a white T-shirt with the message “I’m for Liz Cheney,” a shot that went viral when the congresswoman posted it Monday on social media.
“Real men put country over party,” tweeted Ms. Cheney, who’s facing an uphill battle in the Aug. 16 GOP primary.
The celebrity endorsement touched off a social-media kerfuffle over Mr. Costner’s political bona fides and whether the star’s support will help or hurt the embattled Republican.
“Boy will this backfire,” tweeted former Bush 43 White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. “Liz is already going to lose, but while many fans love Costner and enjoy Yellowstone, who in Wyoming thinks he’s one of them? He’s from CA and is a (great) Hollywood actor.”
Mr. Fleischer added: “It never ceases to amaze me how important Hollywood thinks it is.”
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Donald Trump Jr. jumped in by tweeting: “BREAKING: A leftwing carpetbagger from Hollywood endorses a leftwing carpetbagger from Virginia.”
Citizen Free Press, the popular conservative news aggregation site, ran the headline: “Kevin Costner makes a huge mistake.”
Those cheering the move included Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, one of the two Republicans along with Ms. Cheney to sit on the House Jan. 6 select committee.
“Costner is more of a man than most men,” tweeted Mr. Kinzinger.
The pro-Costner comments included “There are a few out there who believe the country is more important than party, …. like Kevin Costner” and “Glad to see Kevin Costner knows what real American patriotism is.”
Certainly Ms. Cheney needs all the help she can get. A Mason-Dixon poll for the Casper Tribune released last month showed the incumbent trailing Republican primary rival Harriet Hageman by 22 percentage points.
She’s ruining Kevin Costner for me. Stop it. https://t.co/yE7i4Orase
— Heather Hunter (@heatherhunterdc) August 2, 2022
Whether Mr. Costner can move the needle is another question. Critics on the right pointed to his endorsement of Pete Buttigieg in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Also making the rounds was a 2001 photograph showing him shaking hands with Fidel Castro during the filming of “Thirteen Days.”
A self-described independent, Mr. Costner is in fact a rancher, just not in Wyoming. He owns a 160-acre spread in Aspen, Colorado, which Taste of Country described as a “spectacular getaway, complete with a main residence, a lake house and a river house.”
“The luxury retreat also features a baseball field, a sledding hill, an ice rink, multiple hot tubs and views of the Continental Divide,” said the Feb. 12 article. “The ranch property comfortably sleeps 27 people, and it’s currently available to rent for 36,000 a night.”
Unfortunately for Ms. Cheney, the Oscar-winning actor doesn’t appear to own a home in Wyoming, meaning he can’t vote for her in the primary.
Ms. Cheney triggered a GOP backlash with her outspoken criticism of former President Donald Trump. Last year, the Wyoming Republican Party censured her for her vote to impeach Mr. Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
The Montana Talks website said that the “endorsement by the actor is interesting to note, but will not carry much weight with the people of Wyoming. They have never really cared much for celebrity endorsements or endorsements in general.”
“Costner doesn’t even make his home in Wyoming and the hit TV show ‘Yellowstone’ that he stars in takes place on that little sliver of Yellowstone that Montana holds,” said Montana Talks radio host Glenn Woods.