Biden tops list of potential 2020 Democrats in new poll
GOP campaign chairman says he supports Trump
The chairman of the organization charged with electing House Republicans says he is backing Donald Trump for president despite some disagreements with the GOP's presumptive nominee.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said in a statement Thursday that Trump is a more palatable alternative to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
"While I may disagree with the rhetoric Mr. Trump uses and some policy positions, he is the better option than Hillary Clinton in the White House," Walden said. "That's why all along I've said I intend to support the GOP nominee."
"The last thing I want is to give the same Obama/Clinton/[Bernie] Sanders philosophy another four years in charge," he added.
Walden's statement in support of Trump comes more than a week after the real estate mogul won the Indiana primary, prompting his remaining two primary rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, to drop out.
Walden was not among the lawmakers in the meeting on Thursday morning with Trump at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill.
Trump first met with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. That was followed by a second meeting with Ryan and members of the House GOP leadership, including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), GOP conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) and Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (N.C.).
Ryan is still withholding an endorsement of Trump. But in a joint statement with the presumptive nominee after their meeting, the two said they "will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there's a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall."
House Republicans up for reelection have taken a variety of positions on Trump based on their individual districts. Some have fully endorsed Trump, while others, such as centrist Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) and Bob Dold (Ill.), have said they'll never vote for Trump in the general election.
Still others have said Trump needs to "earn" their vote or that they will "support the nominee" without endorsing him by name.
Walden offered his endorsement Thursday despite saying last year that Trump would be a liability to Republicans in House and Senate races.
"It puts, certainly, competitive seats in jeopardy. We'll have a much more difficult time," Walden told Politico in December after Trump first proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
Not all of Walden's deputies at the NRCC have gotten behind Trump.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who's serving as finance chairwoman for the 2016 cycle, declined to endorse Trump last week.
She expressed disgust with the businessman's rhetoric in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I believe in calling people to their highest and best, not their lowest and least. And Donald Trump's slurs and attacks, not only do I find them not presidential, I just don't even find them suitable in society."
Democrats made clear they'll tie all House Republicans to the party's controversial standard-bearer.
"[N]o Republicans were able to stop Trump, and now Greg Walden has accepted the painful truth that House Republicans are running on the same ticket as Donald Trump, like it or not," said Meredith Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Updated at 12:23 p.m.