U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., offered an endorsement of President Donald Trump immediately after the chief executive’s reelection kickoff.
“He has earned my endorsement and vote in the upcoming Presidential election,” Bacon said in a statement Tuesday night.
Bacon said in an interview Wednesday that he thought he’d be asked about the presidential race and he wanted to make clear where he stood. He said no one asked him to make the endorsement — at least not yet.
“For me, it’s an easy choice” vs. the Democratic candidates, he said.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump kicked off his reelection bid at a rally in Orlando, with familiar themes of attacking trade deals, curbing illegal immigration and mocking his political opponents.
He told the crowd that Democrats “want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.”
The apocalyptic language and finger-pointing made clear that Trump’s 2020 campaign will probably look a whole lot like his 2016 run.
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Bacon, a Republican who represents the Omaha-area 2nd Congressional District, is expected to run for a third term for a seat that could be one of the most competitive in the country. Republicans are already gearing up with support for Bacon in 2020.
Bacon has walked a line between criticizing the president and defending him. He’s said the president needs to speak with more civility and has criticized his tone. But Bacon has also said he supports most of Trump’s policies and said after reading special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that he does not support impeachment.
In Tuesday’s statement, Bacon offered wholehearted support of Trump.
He pointed to Trump’s Supreme Court appointments and the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. On Wednesday, Mexico became the first of the three nations to ratify the pact.
Bacon also said there is more work to be done, including a trade deal with China and lowering health care costs.
In the past, Bacon has split from the president on the issue of immigration. Earlier this month he crossed party lines to vote for a bill that included protections for immigrants and a pathway to citizenship for young people who were brought into the country as children.
In Tuesday night’s statement, Bacon said fixing immigration is part of the unfinished business. “President Trump has been an ardent advocate for securing our borders and reforming a broken immigration system, but that has been bitterly opposed at every step by Democrat leaders in Congress.”
Bacon called for more cooperation in Washington, including from Trump.
“We have to start honestly negotiating and begin solving problems by seeking areas of consensus,” he said. “Dysfunctional political dialogue and government gridlock are hurting America. We can and must do better.”