Despite some lingering misgivings about Donald Trump, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the No. 4 Republican in the House, said on Wednesday that she has decided to back the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Republican Conference, detailed her feelings on Trump in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday night revealing that she voted for him in the Washington state primary.
This marks a turning point for the congresswoman, who has been a vocal critic of Trump’s comments about women and people with disabilities.
“I think his comments regarding women and other comments, I find them inappropriate,” she told the New York Times in March. “I find them hurtful and I think they are hurtful to the party, a party that has been founded on equal opportunity for all.”
She went on to criticize the “divisive rhetoric that is dominating now.”
She refused to back him in March, telling Roll Call, “We still have a long way to go; I’m not making that decision.”
And in early May, even as it became clear that Trump would become the Republican nominee, McMorris Rodgers was still hesitant to endorse him.
“Before I endorse him, I would like to have a conversation with him,” she told the Spokesman-Review. “I would like to ask him questions about some of the statements he’s made.”
After a meeting between Trump and House Republican leaders last week, McMorris Rodgers offered a hopeful message about unifying the party, but still did not throw her support behind Trump. And in her statement about the meeting, she alluded to Trump’s comments about women and people with disabilities.
“As the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, the mother of a son with Down syndrome, and a friend to people of all walks of life, I offer a unique perspective,” she said. “Today was my first opportunity to discuss and impress upon the presumptive nominee the importance of championing a core value of the Republican Party: dreaming big for everyone and turning its back on no one.”
In her Wednesday Facebook post detailing why she support’s Trump, McMorris Rodgers made it clear that she still has problems with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
“Did I cast my ballot with enthusiasm? Not exactly – I’m still getting to know Mr. Trump like so many others,” she wrote.
“Do I have concerns about the comments he made in the past and on the campaign trail this year about women; people with disabilities; and those from different backgrounds? Absolutely – I vehemently disagree with such statements,” she continued. “They are wrong in a Presidential campaign; in our workplaces; in our homes; and anywhere else. I’ve called him out before, and I won’t be shy if he does it again because he owes it to our party and our country to treat everyone respectfully and to build an inclusive coalition.”
But she wrote that since her initial meeting between House Republican leadership and Trump, she has been “encouraged” by conversations with Trump’s team about policy.
McMorris Rodgers said on Wednesday that when deciding to vote for Trump, she factored in his popularity with Republican primary voters.
“In our uniquely American electoral system, it’s essential we respect the will of the people; they should never be neglected or dismissed. In fact, their will should be revered,” she wrote.
And she argued that Trump will make for a better president than Hillary Clinton, writing that Clinton “lacks the integrity to be President.” She added that Trump could channel his unusual campaign into positive change in Washington.
“Mr. Trump certainly disrupted this unique campaign.” she wrote. “It is my hope that his disruption will be positive – not just to win in November, but to radically transform the way government works so it stops making the centralized federal bureaucracy more powerful, and starts serving and empowering people again.”