Vulnerable GOP Sen. Ron Johnson Retreats On Endorsing Donald Trump

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May 16, 2016 2:27 p.m.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Sunday said that he intends to support but not endorse Donald Trump as the nominee, pulling back from a previous comment that he would endorse Trump if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

“Let me tell you precisely what I’ve said. I intend to support the Republican nominee. That’s what I’ve said. I intend to support the Republican nominee,” Johnson said on Big AM 1380’s “The Mike Daly Show” when asked if he was concerned about backing Trump

Later, when asked if he was concerned about endorsing a “wild card,” Johnson differentiated between supporting and endorsing a candidate. He noted that he purposefully says, “I intend to support.”

“To me, support versus endorse are two totally different things,” Johnson said.

These comments from Johnson, who is in a tough re-election battle against former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), indicate that he is softening his support for Trump, given that he previously said he intended to endorse Trump as the nominee.

“I am going to certainly endorse the Republican nominee, and obviously it looks like that will be Mr. Trump,” John said earlier in May, according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

And Johnson has previously suggested he will embrace Trump on the campaign trail. In March, the senator said that Trump would help bring voter to the polls in Wisconsin. And when asked whether he would campaign with Trump, Johnson replied, “Stump with Trump? … Just because it rhymes: It’d be the Ronald (and) the Donald.”

On Sunday, Johnson noted that he does not agree with Trump on every issue, but that he will focus on common ground with the candidate.

“I will be concentrating on the areas of agreement with Mr. Trump, and I intend to support —support — the Republican nominee by finding those areas of agreement moving forward,” he said on “The Mike Daly Show.”

But he also said that if Trump or any candidate crosses a line, he would withdraw his support.

“Any individual that would be running for running for office, if they would say something that crosses a line, and in the end is so significant, so major that you couldn’t support them, I’d have to withdraw support from any individual, okay?” Johnson said. “Whether that’s somebody running for the assembly or county board or city council, or whatever. That’s true under any circumstance.”

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