CEDAR FALLS — U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, R-1st District, acknowledges some mixed feelings about his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
But he says now is a time for Republicans, particularly those who subscribe to the “Never Trump” movement, to coalesce around the candidate.
“It’s binary now. There’s two people now, so everything’s changed,” Blum said in an interview this week, referring to Trump and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “When they start thinking about four years or eight years of Hillary Clinton, I think they’re starting to warm up to Trump, but it does concern me, this ‘Never Trump’ or whatever it’s called.”
He likened the current situation in which the Republicans find themselves to that of the Founding Fathers at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He paraphrased a quote attributed to Ben Franklin, saying, “If we don’t hang together … most assuredly we’ll hang separately.”
“So, we need all Republicans on board, for sure,” Blum said.
He acknowledged some positives and negatives about the business mogul and reality TV star who is now leading the Republican Party. He praised Trump’s ability to bring in disaffected voters, like Reagan Democrats and working-class families, particularly with his “make America great again” slogan.
“I think it resonates with a lot of people that feel that in the world stage we’re getting pushed around, so they want us to project our greatness again,” Blum said.
Blum said when the cameras weren’t rolling, he found Trump to be “very cordial” and “very normal” in the two times he’s encountered him.
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“Away from the camera, I think, I hope, from what I’ve seen, he’s a little more thoughtful,” Blum said.
But without being specific, Blum said he doesn’t like “some of the things” Trump does and says.
“I can’t control Trump. I can’t control the voters. All I can control is what we do here in the district, and in Washington (D.C.), so we just worry about what we can control,” Blum said.
That sentiment, however, has not stopped Democratic groups from tying Blum — who is for re-election this year — to Trump’s more controversial statements.
“After failing to disavow Donald Trump’s disturbing attacks on war heroes, women, minorities and the disabled, Congressman Blum will have to face the consequences of sharing a ballot with Trump,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement.
Blum, however, sees Trump as a good opportunity to take on the likely nominee from the Democratic Party.
“I don’t think Hillary Clinton has ever gone up against, or the Clinton machine has never gone up against, somebody like Donald Trump. So it’s going to be quite interesting,” Blum said.