GOP Senate Candidate Caught On Tape Disparaging Trump

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The GOP has their work cut out for them heading into November. President Donald Trump is behind in the polls across the U.S. and in swing states, and at least four currently GOP-held seats in the U.S. Senate have a good chance of swinging to Democratic control this November. Republican John James is among those trying to stem the losses as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Michigan, where he’s running against incumbent Democrat Gary Peters. In a new recording reported on by POLITICO this week, James was caught on tape disparaging the president, insisting to black community leaders that he did, in fact, disagree with Trump on a number of issues.

The tape is notable since Republican criticism of Trump has frequently been so very sparse. Yet, James’s comments indicate how hollow that the president’s political stance has ended up.

Asked “whether he disagreed with Trump on anything given the president’s support of his candidacy,” as POLITICO explains, James (who himself is also black) told the community leaders:

‘Plenty, plenty of issues. Everything from cutting Great Lakes funding to ‘shithole countries’ to speaking ill of the dead. I mean, where do you want to start? And so yes, there’s gonna be places that I disagree with the president and those are just a couple… I do recognize that it’s human to disagree with people and like I’ve said millions of times, I can agree with the president without worshiping him. I can disagree without attacking him.’

James is a veteran of the Iraq War, and his reference to Trump disparaging the dead appears to reference Trump’s criticism of the late Senator John McCain, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War.

James ran for a Michigan U.S. Senate seat in 2018 as well, but he lost — that time to Democrat Debbie Stabenow — by six percent. This time around, when he’s up against the state’s other Democratic Senator, Gary Peters, James is again behind in the race. A recent Fox News poll had Peters with a staggering ten percent lead. It’s worth noting, although Trump has publicly supported Peters’s candidacy, that actually could be dragging the Republican candidate down. In that same Fox News polling, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden led Trump by a full eight percent in the state — not exactly a small amount.

James tried to dial into the importance of community representation when making the case to black community leaders during his recent video conference. He commented:

‘Look, Donald Trump doesn’t need less black folks around him, he needs more. Hopefully you’ll see through my actions that I am for you, that I am for black people, and that we share the same destiny. And hopefully as the result of that, you give me the benefit of the doubt.’

Currently, the Cook Political Report says that the Michigan Senate race “leans” Democratic; it’s the only currently Dem-held seat with that designation. Meanwhile, a full four GOP-held seats just “lean” Republican, and four more are rated as toss-ups heading into November.