Trump endorses Riggleman in Virginia House race

Trump endorses Riggleman in Virginia House race
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE on Tuesday announced his support for freshman GOP Rep. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanTrump endorses Riggleman in Virginia House race Pelosi: Celebrities, politicians both in 'attraction business' Liberty University official to launch primary challenge to GOP's Riggleman MORE (Va.), who is facing a primary challenge from a Liberty University athletics official.

Trump praised Riggleman, who represents Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, as a “true CONSERVATIVE leader” in a tweet, stating that he has his “Total Endorsement” during the next election cycle.

“Congressman @Denver4VA Riggleman is a true CONSERVATIVE leader who has done a great job for Virginia and will support our #MAGA Agenda. He defends our right to bear arms, protect our Borders & help small businesses. Denver has my Total Endorsement!” Trump tweeted.

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Riggleman, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said he did not expect the endorsement, but noted he has been working closely with the White House on a number of issues.

“Pretty incredible, it surprised today, and it came out but we've had a really good relationship with the White House legislative staff," he told The Hill.

"We've been working on a lot together and he's pretty smart, you know he wants to clear the field of primary so he can go forward and we can keep the House, so it was a good endorsement to have today."

Bob Good, who sits on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors and serves as the senior associate athletics director and chief fundraiser for athletics at Liberty University, announced his bid against Riggleman in the fall.

The challenge launched shortly after the Rappahannock County Republican Party in Virginia attempted to censure Riggleman, accusing the GOP congressman of “abandoning party principles” on fiscal spending, foreign policy and immigration.

Riggleman’s camp has argued the censure was intended "to punish" the GOP lawmaker for officiating a same-sex wedding in July.

When asked how Trump’s endorsement would impact his race, Riggleman responded: “What race?”