Grimm Has Some Advice for Trump After Not Getting Endorsement

Former congressman suggests president should stay quiet in primaries

Despite his attempts to align himself with President Donald Trump, former New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm saw the president last week endorse Rep. Dan Donovan in the GOP primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former New York Rep. Michael Grimm had some advice for President Donald Trump on Sunday about not playing favorites during GOP primary elections, saying it’s a a “no-win” situation for the president to choose sides.

Trump has endorsed Grimm’s opponent for the Staten Island seat in New York’s 11th District, Rep. Dan Donovan.

That’s a mistake, Grimm said.

“Out of respect for the president, I wouldn’t advise him to get involved in House primaries because you either upset the grassroots or the entrenched establishment, making it a no-win situation,” Grimm told Fox News. He added that it was “not a warning” to the president to keep his voice out of the race.

Trump endorsed Donovan last week, delivering a stark warning that Grimm, an ex-convict, could represent a Roy Moore-like controversial figure and imperil a Republican-held district.

The president also erroneously stated Donovan supported the GOP tax code overhaul.

“There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again. Dan has my full endorsement!” Trump tweeted last week.

Donovan was the more electable candidate in the general election, Trump indicated.

“Very importantly, @RepDanDonovan will win for the Republicans in November…and his opponent will not. Remember Alabama. We can’t take any chances on losing to a Nancy Pelosi controlled Democrat!” 

Grimm resigned from office in 2015 after being indicted for tax evasion, hiring undocumented workers and perjury under oath.

Those charges led to an eight-month stay in federal prison for tax fraud after Grimm admitted he had hidden more than $900,000 in receipts at his Manhattan restaurant, Healthalicious. He was released in May 2016.

Grimm has established himself as the insurgent in the race, ready to reclaim his former seat with an aggressive campaign tone.

Former White House chief political strategist Steve Bannon endorsed him in October.

Whoever emerges from the June 26 primary should be favored in the general election in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Army veteran Max Rose to its Red to Blue program for top recruits earlier this year. 

Trump carried the district by 10 points in 2016 while Donovan was winning a first full term by nearly 15 points. 

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