Trump backs Donovan in New York House race

Trump backs Donovan in New York House race
© Camille Fine

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff 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 KingGOP lawmakers blast Trump's Syria decision as 'grave mistake,' 'disaster in the making' Here are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban Hotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill MORE and Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinGraham huddles with House Republicans on impeachment strategy State Dept. official told to lay low after voicing concerns about Giuliani: Dem lawmaker Democrats gauge support for vote on impeachment inquiry 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 MooreMontgomery, Ala., elects first African American mayor GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville says Trump has 'put a noose' around farmers' necks with trade war Sen. Doug Jones launches reelection bid in Alabama MORE, who was vanquished in December by Democrat Doug Jones. "We can’t take any chances on losing to a Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump Trump turns Pelosi's 'meltdown' criticism around: 'She is a very sick person' Trump threat lacks teeth to block impeachment witnesses MORE controlled Democrat!"

 

Ben Kamisar contributed reporting.