Report: Trump Campaign Demands Rokita Take Down Yard Signs

Say they give a false impression Trump endorsed Indiana Senate candidate

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Indiana, addresses voters in South Bend, Indiana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Indiana, addresses voters in South Bend, Indiana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Posted April 18, 2018 at 8:17am

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign said Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita’s campaign signs give the false impression that Trump endorsed his Senate candidacy.

Two people told The Associated Press that Trump’s campaign wants Rokita’s campaign to take down the signs.

The signs show in large letters “Endorsed by Trump/Pence” and then in smaller type “2016 Indiana Team Leaders.”

The second line refers to the endorsement of two volunteers who led Trump’s 2016 state campaign.

Rokita’s spokesman Nathan Brand would not comment to the AP on whether the campaign would change the yard signs.

Watch: A Loyalty Contest for Trump in Indiana Senate Race

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“We do not comment on yard sign strategy,” Brand said in a statement.

Tony Samuel, one of the volunteers who endorsed Rokita, said the Trump campaign texted him criticizing the signs.

The sticking point is concern that Trump’s campaign looks like it made an endorsement in the primary, one campaign official told the AP.

Samuel and Rex Early said when they endorsed Rokita, they did not do it on behalf of the Trump campaign but as individuals.

“We are not speaking for the president or the White House,” Samuel said.

Rokita is running against fellow Rep. Luke Messer and former state Rep. Mike Braun to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Each of the candidates have tried to tie themselves to Trump in the home state of Vice President Mike Pence.

Rokita even uses a cardboard cutout of Trump during campaign events and wears Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat in a TV ad.

During the 2016 campaign, Rokita called then-candidate Trump “vulgar, if not profane” and endorsed Trump’s rival Marco Rubio.

Indiana’s primary is May 8.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Indiana’s Senate race Toss-up.