Election 2020

Embattled Congresswoman Ellmers Tries to Get Colleagues on Trump Train

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) participates in the news conference April 28, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

A North Carolina GOP congresswoman who is a key target of Americans for Prosperity in next month’s primary is trying to rally support for Donald Trump among other lawmakers on Capitol Hill, complaining that the Hill is “the only one who seems to have a problem” with Trump’s lack of specific policies.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) was a target of conservatives last time around, but easily fended off a primary challenge from talk-show host Frank Roche in 2014. She then defeated former American Idol finalist Clay Aiken to keep her seat in the general election.

This time around, Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) is challenging Ellmers in newly drawn district boundaries. Also running in the primary is Greg Brannon, a physician and Tea Party activist who unsuccessfully tried to oust Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) in his primary.

AFP is spending six figures in ad dollars to defeat Ellmers in an unprecedented incumbent-ousting effort for the group. “Rep. Renee Ellmers has sadly become a part of the very Washington she once claimed she wanted to fix,” AFP president Tim Phillips said. “After giving Rep. Ellmers every chance to match her votes to her prior rhetoric, she’s demonstrated an unacceptable pattern of supporting wasteful government spending and corporate welfare. North Carolinians deserve a true conservative who will fight for them, not special interests.”

Ellmers told CNN this morning that “we are bringing more and more in” in the effort to build the Trump fold among lawmakers.

“We are now up to 50 Republicans here on the Hill who have now come out in support of our presumptive nominee, and I think that’s a very good thing. And it seems like week after week we have been able to increase those numbers and we have brought on some of my fellow women members. And I think that’s a very good thing,” she said.

Ellmers was shown a new ad from a pro-Clinton super PAC that features audio clips of Trump saying things about women: “Does she have a good body? No. Does she have a fat ass? Absolutely… You like girls that are five foot, one? They come up to you know where…. If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her…. I view a person who is flat-chested as very hard to be a 10.”

“You know, these are all things that Donald Trump has said over time and the American people, quite frankly, are tired of the status quo and the political correctness that has gone on for so long, which has moved this country nowhere,” Ellmers said. “They are ready — women are ready for a problem-solver, someone who gets results. All of these things are just really going by the wayside. I mean, yes, do I condone any of those comments? Absolutely not. I would be offended by them if he said them about me.”

“But the problem here isn’t about what Donald Trump has done in the past, it’s about a vision for the future,” the congresswoman continued. “And the American people see that this is someone who is forward-thinking, who is going to get this economy moving again.”

“Americans want their country back again, and Donald Trump is presenting a situation and a plan that is going to get them that. And look, women are pragmatic and they want answers. They want solutions. They don’t have time for the outside remarks and the innuendo and the stories that are going to come out over time. They want to see results. They want to get their country back.”

Ellmers acknowledged there’s “a great dissatisfaction with Hillary Clinton and, yes, there is with Donald Trump as well — but I think those things actually kind of cancel each other out.”

“You know, I don’t think that Donald Trump ever comes out and says I’ve got the answer to every problem, and I think that’s what the American people appreciate about him. He knows how to bring folks together who can actually have a plan of action, and they’re doing that. And we’re going to see that more and more over the coming weeks,” she added.

“…As to the issue of details, the only one who seems to have a problem with that are the folks here on the Hill. The American people are just fine with Donald Trump’s message and they’re happy that he wants to take office and fix the problem. He has identified the issues that the American people are frustrated with and they’re happy that someone finally gets it.”