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Lansing — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is urging fellow Michigan Republicans to get behind billionaire Donald Trump as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

“It is time for republicans to unify behind @realDonaldTrump,” Calley wrote Monday night on Twitter.

Calley endorsed Ohio Gov. John Kasich ahead of Michigan’s March 8 primary. He was elected a Kasich delegate to the Republican National Convention before the Ohio governor dropped out of the race earlier this month.

With the water crisis in Flint raging, Gov. Rick Snyder did not endorse a presidential candidate during the primaries. But the second-term Republican governor expressed concerns about Trump’s rhetoric, repudiating the real estate tycoon’s call for banning Muslim immigration.

Some Michigan Republican leaders have been slow to embrace Trump since his last rivals dropped out, even though the major party alternative is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Calley first made his support known for Trump on Monday during the taping of a podcast with Michigan Information and Research Service, a Lansing political newsletter.

“Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that’s not a tough choice for me,” Calley told MIRS. “Our party has a process, Donald Trump has brought a lot of people to the table in Republican primaries that we haven’t seen in a long time — really not since the famous Reagan Democrats...”

In embracing Trump’s candidacy, Calley said he subscribes to “the big tent philosophy” to grow the GOP base in an effort to recapture the White House.

“The bigger your tent gets, you’re going to have differences and the family’s got to figure out how to deal with those differences,” Calley told MIRS. “I’m well-acquainted with the type of confrontation.”

Calley’s late Monday night tweet endorsing Trump set off a series of social media responses, including one from Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon.

“Which part is best to rally around? Abolishing fed min wage? The misogyny? Ban on Muslims? Abolishing EPA?” Dillon asked.

Calley has not replied.

clivengood@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3661

Twitter: @ChadLivengood

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