As big of a supporter he might be of the former president, Republican gubernatorial candidate Hirsh Singh did not secure Donald Trump's endorsement for Tuesday's primary.

A message dated June 4 on Trump's "Save America" stationary appeared on social media with a message purported to be from the former president calling Jack Ciattarelli a RINO.

"Jack said I am an embarrassment to America. He will be the one embarrassed on Tuesday," the message says.

Trump senior advisor Jason Miller on Monday called the post "fake" and said the former president has not endorsed anyone in the New Jersey Republican primary. About 12 minutes later, Singh said on Twitter that the ad was a "distraction meant to damage our campaign."

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"As I said on NJ radio this morning, this press release is a photoshopped image circulated by activists from opposing campaigns on Facebook," Singh said.

Singh had called into New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea show and claimed the ad was the work of Republican primary opponent Phil Rizzo.

"That guy is tarnishing my name," Singh said.

Rizzo is a strong supporter of Trump. His campaign signs include a seal that says "100% pro Trump candidate."

During the only gubernatorial debate of the primary, Singh said he was inspired by Trump to enter politics while Ciattarelli has sometimes been critical of him.

“Donald Trump was the greatest president of my lifetime and probably for many people’s lifetimes, everyone who is alive today," said Singh, who likened Ciattarelli to Mitt Romney and Liz Cheney, saying they should be thrown out for stabbing Trump in the back.

Ciattarelli said Trump remains the standard-bearer for the Republican Party, noting that’s always true of former presidents and governors, including Chris Christie in New Jersey, until a new candidate from the party wins that office.

Ciattarelli says he didn’t support Trump for president in 2015 because he was backing Christie, believing it would be good if New Jersey’s governor became president. But in statements at the time, Ciattarelli was unequivocal in his denunciation of Trump, calling him a "charlatan" and an embarrassment. 

Rizzo in early May posted a picture of himself with Trump at a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago golf club. Singh posted a video on his Twitter account that ends with Rizzo saying, "I voted third party in 2016." The context of the video or it's source are not clear in the tweet.

“Wednesday night, at Mar-a-Lago, I was reminded of what happens when the people rally behind a candidate that is up against a corrupt establishment. New Jersey 2021 can be a redo of 2016 if.....WE THE PEOPLE!" Rizzo said on social media after the event. He did not say if he spoke to Trump about a possible endorsement.

Rizzo held a fundraiser at the Trump National golf club in Colts Neck on March 25.  Spadea was the event's emcee.

Phil Rizzo with former President Donald Trump at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club (Phil Rizzo via Facebook)

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