Trump backs Donovan in New York House race

Trump backs Donovan in New York House race
© Camille Fine

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE endorsed Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday, giving the Staten Island Republican a boost ahead of New York's primary elections next month. 

"There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again," Trump tweeted. "Dan has my full endorsement!"

Donovan, however, was one of 12 Republicans who voted against tax cuts.

The endorsement comes one week after Donovan met with Trump and other GOP congressmen aboard Air Force One.

Donovan said he and two Long Island Republicans, Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingWashington big names celebrate launch of Hill.TV The Hill's Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution ‘Unmasking Antifa Act' includes 15-year prison term proposal MORE and Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinGOP rep: I wasn't 'duped into an interview by Borat' Man arrested after allegedly threatening to kill Trump supporters, GOP lawmaker Donald Trump Jr. called to check on GOP campaign volunteer after reported threats MORE, flew from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to New York, where Donovan said the group discussed the MS-13 gang at a lunch roundtable.

Donovan is facing off against former Rep. Michael Grimm in the Republican primary for New York's 11th District. Grimm served an eight-month prison sentence for tax fraud and was released in 2016. 

Trump's endorsement comes as a blow to Grimm, who has been attacking Donovan from the right and working to align himself closely with the president. 

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Grimm has accused Donovan of failing to back the president on legislation, including the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and a vote to cut funding for so-called sanctuary cities.

Donovan's allies contend that those votes would have had adverse effects on New York City specifically — the health-care bill included a measure that saddled the city the rest of the state's Medicaid costs, while the "sanctuary city" bill would have jeopardized the New York City Police Department's anti-terrorism funding.

Michael Caputo, a former campaign adviser for Trump, has also advised Grimm's campaign.

Republicans have largely backed Donovan in anticipation of a fierce Democratic challenge for the House seat in the November election — a factor that Trump emphasized in a second tweet on Wednesday. 

"Very importantly, @RepDanDonovan will win for the Republicans in November...and his opponent will not. Remember Alabama," he said, apparently referencing former Alabama Senate candidate Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreRoby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Once a Trump critic, Ala. rep faces runoff with his support Doug Jones walks tightrope on Supreme Court nominee MORE, who was vanquished in December by Democrat Doug Jones. "We can’t take any chances on losing to a Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiRoby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections Overnight Health Care: Trump officials score a win against Planned Parenthood | Idaho residents to vote on Medicaid expansion | PhRMA, insurers weigh in on Trump drug pricing plan MORE controlled Democrat!"

 

Ben Kamisar contributed reporting.