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Danforth: 'Something is really wrong here' after Schmitt's 'Let's go, Brandon' speech

"Do I think that there is a reasonable chance of winning this this campaign? Yes, I do," Danforth said of his push for an independent Senate candidate.

ST. LOUIS — An elder statesman of Missouri politics is weighing in after Attorney General Eric Schmitt's comments this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC) where Schmitt used a phrase that has a well-known double meaning.

"Let's go fight. Let's go win. Let's go, Brandon. God bless America," the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate said as he concluded his remarks from the stage.

Monday, Schmitt shared a clip of the comments on his campaign Twitter account with the phrase that doubles as a four-letter insult that starts with the letter 'f' and is directed at President Joe Biden.

"Can you imagine saying, 'Let's go, Brandon, and God bless you?'" former Republican Senator from Missouri John Danforth asked in an interview with 5 On Your Side Monday.

"Can you imagine anybody who is a candidate for the United States Senate saying that? Has anybody ever said that about the president of the United States and ending with, 'God bless you,' too?" questioned Danforth who is also an ordained Episcopal priest. 

"Something is really wrong here," he said not just of Schmitt's comments but all of his fellow Republicans running for Senator Roy Blunt's open seat.

"I don't want to pick him out. I think the Senate candidates are indistinguishable. They all sound the same to me," Danforth said.

And for that reason, Danforth said he will back a yet-to-be-named independent candidate in Missouri's U.S. Senate race.

Danforth recently released a poll that shows 80% of likely Missouri voters believe both parties are intentionally dividing the country and do not represent their values.

Having last served in the U.S. Senate in 1995, Danforth said he is actively working to help someone besides the current Republicans in the race win the seat. 

"As soon as I put out that poll a lot of people reached out to me and said they think we'd like to be considered," Danforth said. "I am very, very hopeful."  

Not everyone sees the same viability in an independent candidate in a state that voted for Donald Trump over Joe Biden by 15 points in 2020. 

"If perhaps if it were only Eric Greitens and you had the party establishment saying, 'Gosh, no, we can't do this, we need to find someone else.' But, you have several very well-established officeholders vying for this primary," said 5 On Your Side political analyst and University of Missouri St. Louis political science professor Anita Manion. 

She said Danforth's dream of returning to the center could be wishful thinking.

"I think you have folks like Danforth and even Roy Blunt who seemed to be a fading remainder of the Republican establishment of the party as we used to know it. And I think CPAC re-emphasized this weekend that the GOP is still the party of Trump right now," she said.  

But, Danforth said he is optimistic, unlike what he said he sees in much of his party today as, "belligerence and fighting and angry...it's very, very disappointing."

"I know we will have a good campaign. I'm sure of that. And do I think that there is a reasonable chance of winning this campaign? Yes, I do," Danforth said.  

For an independent to make it on the November ballot they would need 10,000 signatures by Aug. 1.

5 On Your Side has reached out to Eric Schmitt's campaign for comment on Danforth's criticism. This story will be updated if and when the campaign responds. 

You can see the polling data below:

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