Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman, said Friday it’s up to down-ballot GOP candidates to determine how best to deal with the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Speaking at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, the Oregon congresman said candidates need to make their own decisions on whether to embrace or disavow Donald Trump.
Many GOP congressional candidates in tight races like Rep. Robert J. Dold of Illinois and Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida have said they won’t support Trump while others have said they will skip the party’s convention in Cleveland this month.
“We don’t run a cookie-cutter campaign that sets out any kind of mandates or requirements across the country to tell every candidate to do this, that or the other,” Walden said.
Rob Simms, the NRCC’s executive director, said Democratic congressional candidates have a similar issue with Hillary Clinton, their party’s likely nominee.
“There are two sides to this presidential dynamic,” he said.
Simms specifically mentioned Democrats like Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota, who supported Clinton’s primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford, a former Republican who represents a GOP-leaning district.
Walden also said it would be fine for Republicans to release advertisements critical of Donald Trump.
“We don’t control the content of their ads,” he said. “They’re going to do what they need to do to represent the voters in their districts.”