Trump endorses Rogers in Michigan GOP Senate race

Former US Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) speaks at a conference on March 18 in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

By Michigan Advance

March 12, 2024

BY JON KING, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—Despite previous criticisms of Donald Trump, GOP US Senate candidate Mike Rogers on Monday got the much-coveted endorsement of the former president.

“Highly respected former Congressman Mike Rogers is running for the United States Senate from the Great State of Michigan. Mike has served his Country during a career loaded up with accolades and wins, from the Army to Congress, and now, hopefully, the U.S. Senate,” Trump posted to Truth Social. “Mike will work closely with me to enact our America First Policies. He will tirelessly fight to Secure the Border, Stop Inflation, Grow the Economy, Strengthen our Military / Veteran Support, and Protect and Defend our always under siege Second Amendment. Mike Rogers will be a Great and Powerful Senator for Michigan, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement. HE KNOWS HOW TO WIN!”

Rogers enthusiastically responded to the endorsement, which could set him apart in a jam-packed Republican field.

“Thank you, Mr. President! Excited to get to work with you to Get America and Michigan Back on Track!” he said.

Rogers was the chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee before he retired from Congress in 2015 following seven terms representing his mid-Michigan district. He later became a defense lobbyist and moved to Florida.

The Howell native, who now owns a home in White Lake, dropped hints of a run last summer, and then came out of the gate in September with a strong bid to attract Trump voters and place himself atop the field of candidates for the GOP nomination.

That was despite his former service as an FBI agent and CNN commentator, neither of which are popular with MAGA voters, many of whom view the federal law enforcement agency as complicit in targeting Trump as well as the cable news outlet that is often a target of his ire.

In 2018, Rogers said Trump was “fundamentally wrong” in his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin, called Trump’s political tactics “destructive” and would not commit to supporting Trump for President in 2024 if he is the GOP nominee.

But Rogers was quick to put that record in the rear-view mirror and adapt to the political reality of a Trump-dominated Republican Party, essentially echoing Trump’s position that his prosecution on 91 state and federal felony charges in four jurisdictions was a purposeful political persecution and not based on the rule of law.

Rogers was also on board with Trump when he encouraged Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to America’s NATO allies in Europe because some of them aren’t meeting spending guidelines. Rogers called it “campaign rhetoric” but essentially backed Trump’s view.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we have to continue to beg them to do what they promised to do already when we have real challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, Trump’s comments were met with deep concern by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who suggested they made Western nations less secure against the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” said Stoltenberg.

Other GOP candidates seeking the nomination for the Senate race are: former US Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids), Libertarian former US Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township, Board of Education member Nikki Snyder; businessman Sandy Pensler, Alexandria Taylor, an attorney who has previously represented former Michigan GOP Chair Kristina Karamo; Sherry O’Donnell, a former 2022 congressional candidate and Michigan state chair for US Term Limits; conservative businessman J.D. Wilson; Sharon Savage, an educator who worked for the Warren Consolidated School District for 42 years, Ottawa County Commissioner Rebekah Curran; and Michael Hoover, who previously worked for Dow Chemical Co.

“The chaotic Senate primary is getting even nastier as Trump pours gasoline on the fire. Mike Rogers abandoned Michigan a decade ago as he walked through the revolving door to get rich—and Michigan families deserve better,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes.

On the Democratic side, US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) is facing off against actor Hill Harper of Detroit and businessman Nasser Beydoun for the Democratic nomination.

Trump’s endorsement will likely be helpful to Rogers in the race for the nomination in the August primary.

In 2022, Trump endorsed all three Republicans seeking statewide office: Tudor Dixon for governor, Kristina Karamo for secretary of state and Matt DePerno for attorney general. All won their party nominations, but ended up losing in November, part of a Democratic wave that took control of the Legislature for the first time in nearly 40 years.

READ MORE: Where is Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

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