Finding a Republican to take a stand against Donald Trump is like finding a needle in a haystack.
However, there may be hope on the horizon. There is a rising star among the GOP who is waging a battle for Senate in Michigan.
John James is taking a very different approach to Trump than most Republicans. Last week during a video conference with black community leaders, James was asked if he disagreed with Trump on anything given Trump’s support of his candidacy.
“Plenty, plenty of issues,” James responded. “Everything from cutting Great Lakes funding to ‘shithole countries’ to speaking ill of the dead. I mean, where do you want to start?”
James, 38, an Iraq veteran, then added, “and so yes, there’s gonna be places that I disagree with the president and those are just a couple.”
He also pushed back against rumors that he had been bankrolled by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who comes from one of the state’s wealthiest political families.
“I haven’t gotten any money from Donald Trump. I haven’t gotten any money from Betsy DeVos. I haven’t gotten any money — that’s political talking points. Very little of that is true,” James stated.
Michigan is a swing state and James faces some tall hurdles. New polls show Biden beating Trump by 8 points and James trailing Dem. Sen. Gary Peters by 10 percentage points.
James says that he is not focusing his campaign on Trump like many other Republicans.
“I do recognize that it’s human to disagree with people and like I’ve said millions of times, I can agree with the president without worshiping him. I can disagree without attacking him,” James stated.
Donald Trump’s poll numbers are sagging as the country continues to battle the coronavirus. Trump’s campaign sees Michigan as a “trouble spot.” Despite winning Michigan in 2016 many believe Trump will not repeat in 2020.
James has been very clear that his campaign is just that “his campaign” and has nothing to do with Trump.
“This race isn’t about President Trump,” James said during the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference back in September. “This race is about people in the state of Michigan who’ve been failed by their leaders for generations. This race is about people who are hurting in this state, and I’m going to make this race about Michigan.”
“John James is willing to have these tough conversations with voters. John James is his own man, and he will point out when he agrees with the president and respectfully point out when he disagrees with him,” said Gail Gitch, James’ spokeswoman.
Trump has promoted James heavily. Back in April, he tweeted, James “will be a GREAT Senator for Michigan!”
During the video conference, James was asked whether he would publicly speak out against the administration and be an advocate for the needs of African Americans.
James then stated that his access to Trump as a Republican senator would be an asset to African Americans in the state.
“Look, Donald Trump doesn’t need less, black folks around him, he needs more,” said James.
Reportedly, Trump’s aides are constantly on the lookout for signs of Republican dissent and are suspicious that James is trying to have it “both ways.”
Trump aides took issue with James after he announced his Senate bid in June and tweeted, “We are heading in the wrong direction as a country and our leaders in Washington are failing to lead us toward a better and brighter future.”