Trump backs Donovan in New York House race

Trump backs Donovan in New York House race
© Camille Fine

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' 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 KingFirst House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons The 9 House Republicans who support background checks Progressive gun control activist on NRA: 'Don't count them out' MORE and Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinJewish Democrats decry Trump's 'loyalty' remarks Jewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 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 MooreGOP Senate candidate 'pissed off' at Trump over health care for veterans Durbin says he has second thoughts about asking for Franken's resignation Alabama GOP senate candidate says 'homosexual activities' have ruined TV, country's moral core MORE, who was vanquished in December by Democrat Doug Jones. "We can’t take any chances on losing to a Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCutting tariffs is better than cutting payroll taxes to boost the economy Pelosi speaks with Israeli president after Trump controversy In debate over internet speech law, pay attention to whose voices are ignored MORE controlled Democrat!"

 

Ben Kamisar contributed reporting.