In an exclusive interview with Leavenworth St., Nebraska State Senator, former candidate for Governor and national chairman for the Council of State Governments, Beau McCoy has announced that he is endorsing Donald Trump for President. He is one of the first major local politicians to express his support for the GOP Presidential candidate.
McCoy was an early Jeb Bush supporter, and the co-chair of the Bush Nebraska campaign.
“I consider myself an establishment Republican as much as anyone. I’m a party guy through and through. Clearly I backed Jeb Bush, and we know how that worked itself out,” McCoy said.
“But I’ve sat and watched and listened and I don’t see any other candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton. Kasich ‘s claim isn’t realistic and I don’t see how Ted Cruz can beat Hillary in the general.”
Asked where this support came from, McCoy said:
“I came to this conclusion probably not long after Jeb left the race — but I wrestled with it, which isn’t in my nature. I usually don’t agonize over something like this. I usually make a decision and defend it and go on with my life. This was a little more difficult.”
McCoy said that coming to grips with everything Trump says was something he had to deal with.
“As much as Trump says things that we scratch our heads at, I have to respect him as a businessman, and as someone who has done something in this Presidential cycle that very few people thought he could do — being one of three left standing. That’s something to be applauded. I am not defending everything he has said — but you have to do what you have to to get through the primary.”
McCoy said, for one, he had to come to grapple with Trump’s statements on Planned Parenthood.
“Looking at Trump’s position (where Trump said he supports Planned Parenthood, but not their abortion services), I on the other hand fully support defunding Planned Parenthood in its entirety.
“But I have come to realize that as a Reagan conservative, something Reagan said is that if we can agree on things 80% of the time, we can get a heck of a lot accomplished.
“I agree with Trump’s views on immigration and trade, but I don’t have to agree with him 100% of the time. I probably agreed with George W. Bush more than anyone else. But I have come to the realization that one doesn’t have to agree 100% to realize that the stakes are so high in this Presidential cycle and the future of the nation and the Supreme Court, that it is so important that we need to get behind the strongest candidate.”
McCoy also discussed the argument that Trump’s negatives are too high to beat Hillary Clinton.
“Trump’s high unfavorability will be the least concern in this particular race. Who can believe that Hillary’s are as high as they are in a two-person race? But politics is a tough sport, and it’s one worth defending.
“Regardless of who is president, and in the environment we’re in, with the number of Americans who are disgruntled with Congress and the White House, an entrepreneur and businessman has the opportunity to speak a message that resonates with a good number of Americans. And Trump has the potential to bring in a number of people to the polls who have never voted before — the turnout in the GOP primaries has been record breaking.”
A number of conservatives, from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse to the conservative publication National Review, say Trump will turn conservatism on its head. McCoy responded:
“I think it is a low chance that would happen. I have studied history, and the claims from those in the conservative movement and the Republican party are similar or the same to what was said in 1976 and 1980 about Ronald Reagan.
“We loathe change in the party and in conservatism. And Trump is as major of a change that any party has ever had. There is fear built in and that it’s something people don’t know. I wish Trump had been a Republican all of his life, but I don’t know if that it is as important as the here and now.”
While McCoy has been in touch with the Trump campaign, he has not been asked to be a state chairman, or otherwise be involved officially in the campaign…yet.
“I made contact through an intermediary to a highly placed operative, though I am not sure of the campaign structure. They don’t have much of an organization in Nebraska. Nothing like the Cruz campaign has. I am not otherwise in contact with them, and I haven’t said I want to be the state chair or anything — though I probably would if asked. This is a personal decision on my part, not based on working with their campaign.”
McCoy said he has been lobbied by colleagues to be involved with other campaigns.
“This is nothing personal against Ted Cruz or any other campaigns or individuals. (State Senator John) Murante has pleaded with me to get involved with Cruz, and (Senator Dave) Bloomfield — I just told them I wasn’t inclined to get involved.”
McCoy said he did not know what the plans were for the Trump campaign for the May 10th Nebraska primary.
“I am not in a position to know the campaign’s decision making process. I would imagine that they are going to concentrate on West Virginia (which also has their primary on May 10th).
“But in Nebraska, there weren’t any early high-profile supporters for Ted Cruz. So Nebraskans may still be open with their decisions.
“And there may be some under the radar swelling in the state. The immigration debate was always a big deal, and after the recent votes of the Legislature, that isn’t where a majority of Nebraskans are. There may still be some volatility in the Presidential race.”
McCoy had originally responded to Leavenworth St. on a survey of State Senators regarding their support in the Presidential race.
Later State Senator Tommy Garrett also expressed his endorsement of Donald Trump:
“The people have spoken. Only one person has a mathematical path to the nomination. We can’t afford Hillary. Our next President needs to be someone who supports a strong military, legal access to medical cannabis, a strong 2nd Amendment and income tax relief. A businessman who will fix the VA, honor our commitment to our Veterans, invest in America’s infrastructure and fight against burdensome overregulation. Donald Trump fits that bill, he’s going to get stuff fixed.
“Kasich and Cruz both could be wonderful Presidents in the future. We need to rally as a party to elect Trump and get a Conservative in the White House.”
Leavenworth St. will have an update from the September 2015 survey of State Senators on their Presidential preference in coming days.