Trump backs Donovan in New York House race

Trump backs Donovan in New York House race
© Camille Fine

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax 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) KingHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Retiring lawmaker's 2018 opponent won't run for seat, citing 'difficult' pregnancies House panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban MORE and Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinHouse approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump House moves ahead on long-stalled resolution supporting two states for Israelis and Palestinians GOP lawmakers, Trump campaign rip 'liberal law professors' testifying in impeachment hearing 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 MooreThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Former AG Sessions enters Alabama Senate race Campaign ad casts Sessions as a 'traitor' ahead of expected Senate run MORE, who was vanquished in December by Democrat Doug Jones. "We can’t take any chances on losing to a Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE controlled Democrat!"

 

Ben Kamisar contributed reporting.