Trying to catch Congressman David Jolly in the Republican primary at the end of this month, retired Marines General Mark Bircher has a simple plan: bash Jolly for not backing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Bircher left no room for doubt at the end of last week that he was behind Trump’s presidential bid.
“I will be voting for Donald Trump on Nov. 8,” Bircher said. “I find that Mr. Trump and I share common ground on the overwhelming number of issues. I share his passion for securing our borders, making trade practices fair, strengthening our military, stopping endless wars, and developing an economic policy that will not bankrupt America. As a fellow political outsider, I welcome the change he has brought to the political process run by the establishment. As a former Marine, I have always believed in America first.
“As your representative, I will have no reservations working together with President Trump,” Bircher added. “Perhaps what I appreciate most is the fact that Mr. Trump is a businessman. Business owners are the backbone of this country. Mr. Trump builds great buildings. But more important than buildings, Mr. Trump creates jobs. The entrepreneurs, business owners, and American workers create the wealth and quality of life in this country, not the government. Together, he and I will work to provide an atmosphere that encourages economic health.
“I have great confidence that a businessman and patriot like Mr. Trump can help right-size our bloated federal government,” Bircher continued. “He can remove or reduce many government-imposed regulations and taxes that impede business and stifle job creation. I support Donald Trump as our party’s nominee for president. Contrary to the position taken by Rep. Jolly, in my view, any hesitation or uncertainty by Republican leadership to endorse Mr. Trump is the equivalent of supporting the Democratic nominee.”
While he insisted he did not back Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, Jolly has been critical of Trump’s campaign. During his Senate campaign back in May, Jolly was asked by Bloomberg News if he could back Trump.
“I’m not there yet,” Jolly said. “I do hope Donald has the ability to unify the party, truly unify the party by November.”
But the congressman insisted he had “strong policy differences” with Trump even as he said the businessman won the nomination “fair and square.” Speaking on the House floor in December, Jolly called on Trump to get out of the race at the end of last year after the presidential candidate called for banning Muslims from entering the U.S.
In the primary for a special election back in early 2014, Jolly won the Republican nod with 45 percent. Bircher placed third with 24 percent.
Whoever wins the Republican primary will face former Gov. Charlie Crist who is running on the Democratic line.