Donald Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Renee Ellmers in North Carolina sent shock waves through the likely GOPpresidential nominee’s supporters over the weekend, stoking new fears about his political reliability after the first person he backed has a record diametrically opposed to him on immigration.
Mrs. Ellmers has been one of the House GOP’s staunchest supporters of legalizing illegal immigrants, and voted against Republicans’ efforts last year to stop President Obama’s deportation amnesty.
Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, said Mr. Trump’s move may look odd on its face, but strategically it makes sense: Many of the anti-Ellmers groups, such as the conservative Club for Growth, were already opposed to Mr. Trump, so his endorsement doesn’t cost him anything there.
And besides, Mr. Trump gets to show loyalty to a embattled congresswoman, at a time when he’s looking to connect with female voters, Mr. O’Connell said.
“Donald Trump is looking at this from a national perspective and right now he needs to get as many friends on board as possible, even ones he may disagree with,” the strategist said.