Francis Rooney will support Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
“I’m 100 percent for Donald Trump, he’s our nominee,” said Rooney, a Naples Republican running for in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. “We may not know all of the things we’d like to know about Donald Trump. He hasn’t been in this game a long time, but he speaks clearly and he speaks about a lot of important things. We know what Hillary Clinton is, and we don’t want her.”
Rooney, the former ambassador to the Holy See, is vying to replace Rep. Curt Clawson, a Bonita Springs Republican, in Congress. While the congressional bid marks Rooney’s first run for public office, he is a top GOP fundraiser and a longtime friend of the Bush family.
Rooney was an early supporter of Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential bid. Once Bush got out of the race, he threw his support behind Marco Rubio. In a March interview with NPR, Rooney said he would have to think about whether he would support Trump if he was the nominee.
“I’d have to think about that,” he said when asked whether he would support Trump. “Let’s see how he mutates. Maybe he’ll mature, and grow, and see what he does.”
On Monday, Rooney said he supported other candidates during the primary, but “never said anything negative” about any other candidate. He said he doesn’t understand Republicans who aren’t supporting their party’s nominee.
“I don’t understand Republicans not supporting the presumptive Republican nominee,” he said. “We’re in the fight for our lives to get back the party that stands for limited government, conservative finances, cutting the debt, and all the things that are important to create and opportunity for (his grandchildren).”
Rooney held a campaign kickoff Monday morning at Mel’s Diner in Fort Myers. Rooney faces Republican Chauncey Goss in the race to replace Clawson in the U.S. House.