Congressman Miller: I'm Backing Donald Trump For President
U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller is hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to endorsing Republican presidential candidates.
He’s now going with Donald Trump.
Miller, who’s retiring after his eighth term in the House, first threw his support to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush last year.
“I’m a Jeb Bush supporter,” said Miller in 2015. “I feel very comfortable with level of experience.”
Two days after Bush dropped out of the race in February, Miller then gave his endorsement to U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. That, too was short-lived when Rubio suspended his campaign after finishing second to Trump in the Florida Primary. Now it’s Trump’s turn.
“There are three [Republicans] remaining in this race [Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich] and out of the three Donald Trump is the person I believe can put America first again,” Miller said.
Miller chairs the House Armed Services Committee, and co-authored legislation, along with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, to reform healthcare at the Veterans Administration. He feels Trump has his finger on the veterans’ pulse.
“I know his commitment to the veterans and the ‘war fighters,’” said Miller. “He is the only person who has actively reached out to us to get a good, solid handle on the problems that exist at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Charles Zelden, a political scientist at Nova Southeastern University, says Miller’s “lame duck” status gives him more wiggle room in making any endorsement.
“So this either is, A) his true belief, he finds Trump someone he wants to back,” Zelden said. “Or more likely what we’re seeing is what’s going to be an ever-quicker process of the Republican Party’s stalwarts coming behind Trump as it looks more and more like he’s going to be the nominee of the party.”
With Bush and Rubio out, the two Florida connections, Zelden says it appears Miller’s following the leads of many Republicans and get behind the likely Republican nominee.
“Now, in [Miller’s] case, he has the advantage in that he doesn’t have to run with Trump around his neck,” said Zelden. “So he can work for party unity, but he doesn’t face any personal consequences, on trying to run on a ticket on which Trump is on the top of the ballot.”
As far as some of Trump’s more outrageous statements – such as building a wall on the border with Mexico -- Miller says that is not a racist issue, but rather one of national security.
“It is important for this country to have secure borders and right now, we don’t,” Miller said.
Meanwhile, the two Republicans considered to be the front-runners to succeed Miller – State Sen. Greg Evers and State Rep. Matt Gaetz – also support Donald Trump.