President Trump on Friday endorsed a congresswoman who withdrew her support for Trump’s campaign following the release of the “grab them by the pussy” tape during the 2016 presidential election.
Congresswoman Martha Roby of Alabama has been a consistent and reliable vote for our Make America Great Again Agenda. She is in a Republican Primary run-off against a recent Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat. I fully endorse Martha for Alabama 2nd Congressional District!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2018
On Twitter, Trump called her a “consistent” and “reliable vote for our Make American Great Again Agenda.”
“She is in a Republican Primary run-off against a recent Nancy Pelosi voting Democrat,” he tweeted. “I fully endorse Martha for Alabama 2nd Congressional District!”
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) is currently running against former Rep. Bobby Bright, who previously represented Alabama’s 2nd congressional district as a Democrat and backed current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for speaker.
Roby took office in 2011 after beating Bright in the 2010 midterms, and since Trump took office in 2017. What neither Trump nor Roby seem inclined to talk about now, however, is Roby’s strong criticism of the president in the final weeks before the 2016 election.
“Donald Trump’s behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won’t vote for him,” she tweeted in October 2016, following the release of the Access Hollywood tape. “As disappointed as I’ve been with his antics throughout this campaign, I thought supporting the nominee was the best thing for our country and our party. Now, it is abundantly clear that the best thing for our country and party is for Trump to step aside and allow a responsible, respectable Republican to lead the ticket.”
Roby added, “Hillary Clinton must not be president, but, with Trump leading the ticket, she will be.”
Donald Trump's behavior makes him unacceptable as a candidate for president, and I won't vote for him.
Full statement: pic.twitter.com/Ge7GU1TSvm
— Rep. Martha Roby (@RepMarthaRoby) October 8, 2016
Since then, Roby has indeed been a consistent and reliable vote for the man she called “unacceptable.” Since Trump took office in 2017, she has voted with him 97.6 percent of the time.
Trump’s endorsement of Roby reportedly pleased House Republicans, who, according to The New York Times, expected Pence to endorse Roby before the primary. Ultimately, however, Pence got cold feet.
Trump, too, apparently needed convincing. According to Politico, both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) worked to convince the president.
More: I'm told that Trump initially needed some convincing about endorsing Roby, per 2 ppl close to WH. Both McCarthy and Ryan were involved in getting POTUS's support for Roby, an ally of House GOP leadership
— Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) June 22, 2018
(Initially, Politico reported Roby had called Ryan to thank him for helping secure Trump’s endorsement, but the reporter later said Roby didn’t speak directly with Ryan Friday.)
Trump also endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) for Florida governor Friday morning on Twitter, calling Desantis a “top student at Yale and Harvard Law School” and praising the congressman for being “strong on Borders, tough on Crime & big on Cutting Taxes.”
This story has been updated with additional information about Roby and Ryan’s communications Friday.