Failed politician John James is still “trying to have it both ways.” Just days after the Detroit News reported the President’s son said James is “all for” for Trump’s agenda, James now refuses to answer whether he “still supports Trump ‘2000%.’” James – who pledged that support in his last failed campaign – is again trying to create distance after he was caught trying to create daylight with Trump in a private meeting with African American community leaders from Metro Detroit – only to quickly confirm he “supports the President” hours later to clean up his mess.
While James is participating in Trump’s political photo op in Michigan today – he still hasn’t answered whether he agrees with Trump’s threat to cut federal funding for the Great Lakes state.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Michigan Senate candidate John James has been called a rising star of the Republican Party so many times it’s become a cliche.
- James has never won a general election. He lost the 2018 Senate race to Democrat Debbie Stabenow by 6.5 percentage points.
- Now James’ bid for a victory big enough to equal his hype — running in one of the country’s most competitive presidential battlegrounds — has suddenly gotten dicier. And it’s come just as Republicans are scrapping for wins to help sustain their precarious Senate majority.
- Although Trump narrowly won Michigan four years ago, the mood seems to be turning away from the president and the GOP. And unlike 2018, when Stabenow largely avoided talking about James, Democrats are on the attack — and their best weapon may be Trump at the top of the ticket.
- For months, the party has been using digital ads and social media to attack James as a Trump ally who’s hiding from voters and avoiding questions about his far-right positions on issues such as health care. A website run by the Michigan Democratic Party, titled “John James Revealed,” counted the days James went without granting an interview to a Michigan TV news outlet — a number that at one point surpassed 300 days.
- James’ critics are armed with comments from his 2018 bid, including a video where James says he supports Trump “2000%.” In another clip, James refers to the Affordable Care Act as a “monstrosity” that shows ”new conservative leadership is needed.”
- Democrats also are emboldened by their 2018 midterm election gains and by polls showing Trump is less popular in Michigan than Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has exchanged jabs with the president over the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 5,000 people in the state and notched an unemployment rate of roughly 25%. On Wednesday, Trump threatened to withhold virus relief funding to Michigan after he said, incorrectly, that the state sent absentee ballots to millions of voters.
- In a Fox News poll last month, 44% of Michigan voters had a favorable opinion of Trump, with 52% unfavorable. More than half of voters, 58%, had a favorable opinion of Whitmer, with 37% unfavorable. The Democratic governor got higher marks for her handling of the pandemic.
- The numbers have some GOP campaign operatives “very, very worried about Trump being an anchor around Republicans’ necks,” said Michigan pollster Bernie Porn.
- Trump will be back in Michigan on Thursday to speak to African American community leaders in Detroit about the coronavirus, then tour a Ford plant in Ypsilanti that’s been manufacturing ventilators. James’ campaign didn’t respond Wednesday to a question about whether James will join him. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. held a fundraiser for James on Monday.
- Asked in an interview if he still supports Trump “2000%,” James wouldn’t say.
- James has focused heavily on raising money…. His top donors include members of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ family — heirs to the Amway marketing empire — and businessman Richard Uihlein, who’s active in backing right-wing candidates.
The Michigan Democratic Party launched JohnJamesRevealed.com to hold the failed U.S. Senate candidate accountable for his positions – including those made over the course of the 2018 campaign that he then tried to delete after losing that campaign. Since announcing he’d run again, just over six months after his last failed bid, James has been hiding from Michigan voters and refusing to answer questions from Michigan media.