Trott, Dingell address turmoil in presidential race

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Detroit — U.S. Rep. Dave Trott is standing by Donald Trump, contending the embattled Republican presidential nominee would pursue policies more closely aligned with his beliefs than Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trott, R-Birmingham, said Monday he still plans to vote for Trump, despite mounting troubles for Trump’s White House campaign following the disclosure of a decade-old audio tape of Trump describing his sexually aggressive approach to women.

“He wasn’t my first choice,” Trott said at a Detroit Economic Club luncheon at Cobo Center. “I think he was my 12th choice. But I endorsed him.”

Trott said both Trump and Clinton are flawed choices to be the nation’s commander-in-chief.

“Once you acknowledge that, then you have to look at the policies. For those reasons, I’m voting for Trump,” Trott said.

Trott, a freshman congressman, said he’s focused on his own re-election campaign in the 11th Congressional District in western Wayne County and parts of Oakland County.

Trott is in a four-way race in the Nov. 8 general election against Democrat Anil Kumar, a Bloomfield Township doctor; Libertarian Jonathan Osment of Canton Township; and his predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Milford, who is running as an independent.

“I’m just focused on my re-elect,” Trott said. “Both candidates have their challenges. Get beyond the personalities and look at the policies. My hope is if Trump’s our president, he’ll surround himself with good people and we’ll get something done.”

In a show of bipartisanship, Trott and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell shared the stage at the economic club’s monthly luncheon, answering questions about the presidential election and pressing issues facing the Congress in the December lame-duck session.

Dingell, D-Dearborn, acknowledged publicly for the first time Monday that some of her emails to Clinton aides ended up in the trove of emails hackers stole from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Dingell privately vented to a top Clinton aide about being initially excluded in the formation of a “Michigan Women for Hillary” group featuring U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, according to an email disclosed by WikiLeaks.

“Everybody knows me,” Dingell said. “If I’m ticked, you know, I say it and I don’t say one thing in one room and another.”

Echoing the Clinton campaign, Dingell said Americans should be concerned about the Russian government’s suspected involvement in hacking Podesta’s email account and using WikiLeaks to distribute the records before the election.

“The Russians have hacked all of us, and it is very clear that they are trying to undermine confidence in our government,” Dingell said. “That’s simply not OK to me.”

Dingell expressed concern that the WikiLeaks combined with Trump’s rhetoric that the election is “rigged” could create post-election political turmoil.

“We cannot let a foreign government undermine confidence in our government,” she said.

Trott echoed his Democratic colleague’s concern, saying Trump’s rhetoric is “not productive.”

“One of the great things about our country is transition from Democrat to Republican administrations and we don’t have to call out tanks and soldiers to make it happen,” Trott said. “So we can’t have a lot of turmoil, regardless of what happens in the election.”

Trott added: “I hope it’s just noise like so much of the other rhetoric going on in this campaign.”

(517) 371-3661

Twitter: @ChadLivengood