Chaffetz Ties Himself In Knots Arguing His Vote For Trump Isn’t An Endorsement

AP

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Thursday took pains to distinguish between announcing his vote for Donald Trump, endorsing the nominee and defending him, saying he would only vouch for his own vote until Nov. 8th.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Chaffetz why he’d announced last week on Twitter that he would vote for Donald Trump, but not “defend” or “endorse” him.

“Everybody, think, is struggling with their own decision,” Chaffetz began. “I struggled with this. I am not going to endorse Donald Trump. I am not going to do that. I can’t defend the comments that he made. But elections are tough decisions. At this point you have two people, and one of the two, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, will become the next president of the United States.”

Blitzer asked Chaffetz, who said he had already voted for Trump last week, to clarify why he had seemed to change his position since un-endorsing Trump on Oct. 7.

“You said you couldn’t look your daughter and your wife in the eye and say you were going to support Donald Trump after that ‘Access Hollywood’ video came out,” Blitzer noted.

“I guess I do see a difference between an endorsement and publicly defending somebody,” Chaffetz replied.

Blitzer pressed Chaffetz to explain the difference: “If you tell your supporters in Utah, ‘I am voting for Donald Trump,’ that sounds to me like an endorsement,” the CNN host said.

“Well, I– I think they’re different,” Chaffetz said. “I think the endorsement is far different than who you actually vote for. You know, it’s the one vote I actually do for myself. I don’t represent anybody else. We all get the same vote.”

Blitzer asked Chaffetz if any new information had come to light, then, before he announced he would in fact vote for Trump.

“I thought maybe I could go through this without having to talk about who I was actually going to vote for,” Chaffetz said. “But people wanted to know. And I am in a public spot. So I said, all right, I’ll tell you who I am going to vote for, and I’m going to vote for Donald Trump.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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