U.S. Sen. John Boozman, a Republican from Arkansas, is continuing to support his party's presidential candidate Donald Trump despite lagging poll numbers and a myriad of controversial statements in recent weeks.
Boozman told the Kiwanis group in Jonesboro on Wednesday that U.S. Supreme Court appointments are the central reason he continues to endorse the maligned candidate. When asked during his Kiwanis appearance if his support was wavering, Boozman was stern.
“No, I’m not … I very much support him,” Boozman said.
In recent years the U.S. Supreme Court has been in “activist mode” and the next president will likely select two if not three justices that will serve on the nation’s highest court, he said. If Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is elected, it could set the court back at least one or two generations, he said. The country doesn’t want a third term of President Barack Obama, he said, and Hillary Clinton would be just that.
Trump has been under fire in recent weeks for comments ranging from banning Muslims to implying that those who support the second amendment in the U.S. Constitution could “take out” Hillary Clinton. When asked by a Talk Business & Politics reporter about Trump’s comments about not supporting NATO members who don’t pay as much into the alliance in terms of man power and money, Boozman said he thinks Trump’s comments were inarticulate, but the overall theme was correct.
“He doesn’t say it in a smooth way … we need equal sacrifice … it’s something that needs to be said,” Boozman said.
Arkansas’ senior senator also noted that NATO members’ financial commitments to the alliance are based on their gross domestic product, meaning smaller countries with lesser resources are asked to do less. When asked about Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his reported financial ties to a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine, Boozman insinuated that claims by the New York Times that Manafort received $12.7 million in cash payments from a political party headed by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych were unfounded.
This week Boozman has toured the state and visited with agriculture businesses. Agriculture is the largest job producer in Arkansas, he said. Up to 25% of the state’s economy is tied to agriculture, he said. A more robust manufacturing job base needs to be created in the state, he said.
Most people he talks to are worried about national security and the economy, he said. Terror attacks by Islamic extremist groups are a constant worry, and a problem that seems to be getting worse, he said. He noted that he worries about his grandchildren when he thinks about the terror threats.
“I can’t protect them from radical Islam … the only thing that can is the federal government,” he said.
Boozman, who is seeking re-election this fall, and is being challenged by Democratic nominee Connor Eldridge, did say there is some bipartisanship in Washington D.C. Each Thursday he, and Democratic vice-presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, host a prayer breakfast. About 20 senators attend the breakfast, chaired by the two, he said.
“Tim has done a good job of being a co-chair,” he said.
His tour around Arkansas this week has been a great experience, he said. At each stop he gets to visit with residents, and discuss their problems, he said. Those who govern need this kind of input, he added.
“There’s no substitute for visiting with people and talking about the problems they face,” he said.