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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, August 04, 2016 10:04 pm

Stutzman sees "a lot of potential" in Trump presidency

Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman said Thursday that his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has not wavered.

Stutzman, R-3rd, told local media that he and others see "a lot of possibilities and a lot of potential with a President Trump." Stutzman endorsed Trump's candidacy in June.

Trump in recent weeks stunned many people when he questioned whether the U.S. should defend certain NATO allies if they were attacked; appeared to urge Russia's government to hack the email of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; suggested that Russia had not taken over the Crimea region of Ukraine; feuded with the parents of a U.S. soldier killed in war; and declined to endorse Republican incumbents seeking re-election to Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

"I think that what Donald Trump says a lot of times is twisted in the media. I think a lot of times what he says may not come out as pointed as maybe what he wanted or maybe it was too pointed," Stutzman said during a news conference at the Steel Dynamics Keith E. Busse IPFW Alumni Center.

"But I think at the end of the day when people start to look at Mr. Trump's record as a person – he's a successful businessman. Look at his family: He's a strong family man. There's a lot of other things to look at with his actions that speak more loudly to me than what his rhetoric says," Stutzman said.

"His rhetoric sometimes is more loud than what I'm used to and I know that a lot of Hoosiers are used to. But we're looking for action right now, and I think that's where a lot of people are seeing ... there's a lot of possibilities and a lot of potential with a President Trump," he said.

Stutzman was in Fort Wayne on Thursday for a news conference to preview Monday's annual job fair at IPFW that he sponsors.

Stutzman is in his sixth and final year as northeast Indiana's representative in the House. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for a Senate seat in the May 3 primary election.

He said he was not bothered that Trump has withheld endorsements from Ryan and Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and John McCain of Arizona. All three criticized Trump for publicly squabbling with the parents of Humayun Khan, an Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004.

"We have our differences. Primary seasons are tough," Stutzman said. Ryan and McCain face primary challenges this month, and Ayotte does next month.

"At the end of the day the Republican Party is going to be a very strong party, and I think that as we get through our primary season into the general election, you'll see the party come together and unify," he said.

bfrancisco@jg.net