A REPUBLICAN hopeful – and Donald Trump favorite – was reportedly caught distancing himself from the president to black leaders in revealing leaked audio.
John James, who was previously suggested as Trump's ambassador to the UN last year, is now vying for the Senate in swing state Michigan.
Trump appears to be a strong support of James tweeting he “will be a GREAT Senator for Michigan!” last month and endorsing his unsuccessful 2018 Senate bid.
The president even shared a picture of them in the Oval Office – but it would appear the feeling isn't mutual.
The 38-year-old Iraq veteran criticized many of Trump's decisions in a video conference with prominent community leaders that was obtained by POLITICO.
When James was asked whether he disagreed with the president on key issues, his response was telling.
"Plenty, plenty of issues,” he said. “Everything from cutting Great Lakes funding to ‘shithole countries’ to speaking ill of the dead."
The last comment was supposedly a reference to Trump's comments about the late Senator John McCain.
"I mean, where do you want to start?” James continued. "And so yes, there's gonna be places that I disagree with the president and those are just a couple."
The rising GOP star also denied claims he got funding from Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
"I haven’t gotten any money — that’s political talking points," James insisted. "Very little of that is true."
James said he would be taking a balanced view of the president and his own Senate campaign would not be focussed on Trump.
“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," James said. "I can disagree without attacking him."
But it's not the first time James has called out the president.
During the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in September, he said: “This race isn’t about President Trump.
"This race is about people in the state of Michigan who’ve been failed by their leaders for generations.
"This race is about people who are hurting in this state, and I’m going to make this race about Michigan.”
His spokesperson told POLITICO James was his own person.
“John James is willing to have these tough conversations with voters," Gail Gitcho said.
'HIS OWN MAN'
"John James is his own man, and he will point out when he agrees with the president and respectfully point out when he disagrees with him.”
Publicly, however, James has supported Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic saying he did the "best" he could amid Democrats' claims that he is the president's puppet.
But James has said the president would be an asset to the African American community.
Nevertheless, Trump's team fear he is attempting to play both sides, reports POLITICO, citing a memo sent to the Senate GOP campaign arm.
It said that James' candidacy may actually end up hurting the president's 2020 prospects in the battleground state.
A tweet in June particularly rattled the Trump campaign after James announced his Senate bid, reports say.
“We are heading in the wrong direction as a country and our leaders in Washington are failing to lead us toward a better and brighter future," James wrote.
Source: Read Full Article