Several Republican lawmakers from the Mountain Empire said Thursday they support New York businessman Donald Trump as the party’s likely nominee for president after he won the Indiana primary Tuesday.
“After a long primary process, I am glad the Republicans have a presumptive nominee,” said U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City. “As I've said from the beginning, I will support our nominee. It's time for Republicans to unite, and I am enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump. I look forward to helping him in any way that I can to take back the White House in November.”
Across the state line in Virginia, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said he also supports Trump.
“Having four more years of policies like those of [President] Barack Obama is damaging to our country and our region,” Griffith said.
Tennessee Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, admitted that Trump was not his first choice.
“But I have warmed up to him,” said Lundberg, who is running for state Senate to replace Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, who chose not to seek re-election.
Lundberg added that in recent memory, those representing the two parties always say they’re going to bring change to Washington, but they never do. He believes Trump will bring change.
Ramsey has been a vocal supporter of Trump since he won the state’s Republican primary in March.
“Our choice is clear,” Ramsey said in a statement. “The time for hesitation is over. All doubts must be removed. After eight years of Barack Obama, America simply cannot afford Hillary Clinton in the White House.”
Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic Party, must be stopped, Ramsey said, and Trump can stop her.
“Trump has given voice to frustrated and alienated voters who had all but given up on the political process,” Ramsey said. “He is building a coalition that can defeat Hillary Clinton and make America great again, but only if all Republicans and conservatives unite with him.”
Ramsey congratulated the more than a dozen other candidates who sought the Republican Party’s nomination.
Outside the Mountain Empire, the Associated Press reports that a number of Republican politicians have said they will not or are not ready to endorse Trump, including former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, issued a statement after Trump became the likely nominee.
“Donald Trump is the most dangerous person who has ever been nominated by a national party,” Swecker said. “He cannot be trusted with our military, nuclear weapons and diplomatic relations. Donald Trump is not suited to be commander in chief of the United States of America. His policies would drive our economy into ruin, subvert the status of women in the United States, and cause irreparable damage to the international world order.”
She added that Trump is “dangerous, not fit to be president and Democrats are united to defeat him.”
In Tennessee, state Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini also said Trump is dangerous.
“Donald Trump has built his campaign on fear, stoking the embers of racism, sexism, and xenophobia that still remain in this country, but that hasn’t stopped the Tennessee Republicans from endorsing and actively campaigning for him,” Mancini said.