Donald Trump surprised Connecticut Republicans Thursday night by endorsing Leora Levy for U.S. Senate in a live phone call to an audience in Montville that included Levy\u2019s two rivals, Themis Klarides and Peter Lumaj. Levy said the phone call from the former president came without warning during the Republican Town Committee fundraiser. She could be seen pacing the parking lot on her phone, deep in conversation. She said the call amounted to a brief interview with the former president, who quizzed her about issues and her competitors. \u201cTrump is full of surprises,\u201d Levy said. Asked after the event when she knew of the endorsement, she replied, \u201cJust this minute \u2026 I almost didn\u2019t answer the call.\u201d She said the endorsement was a great honor. \u201cIt will help me tremendously,\u201d she said. The phone call came as the Montville Republican Town Committee was nearing an end to its annual summer barbecue, where the three candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate gave what will be among their final speeches before the primary Tuesday. The crowd applauded Levy and the master of ceremonies, Wills Pike, as they announced Trump was on the line. They held Levy\u2019s cell phone to a microphone as Trump spoke. \u201cI\u2019m giving tonight my complete and total endorsement to Leora Levy, and she\u2019s going to go out and win this primary,\u201d Trump said. He said she will defeat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, whom Trump has repeatedly mocked on social media about his claims of service in Vietnam. \u201cHe\u2019s a total liar. He\u2019s a sleazebag. But Leora is a great woman,\u201d he said. \u201cIt\u2019s an honor to endorse her.\u201d Pike downplayed the impact of the endorsement, as did Klarides and Lumaj. The local town committee has endorsed Klarides in the primary. Klarides, the former House Republican leader, has publicly acknowledged she did not vote for Trump in 2020, while Levy and Lumaj frequently mention their continuing loyalty to the former president. Trump teased the crowd about his potential further involvement in Connecticut politics. \u201cI\u2019ll get up there and have a big rally or something,\u201d Trump said.