According to POLITICO, James had a video conference call with Black community leaders last week and he was questioned on whether he disagreed with Trump on anything considering Trump tweeted that James “will be a GREAT Senator for Michigan!” last month.
James responded that he has “plenty, plenty of issues” with Trump. “Everything from cutting Great Lakes funding to ‘shithole countries’ to speaking ill of the dead,” James said, supposedly referring to Trump’s denunciation of the late Sen. John McCain. “I mean, where do you want to start?”
“And so yes, there’s gonna be places that I disagree with the president and those are just a couple,” he continued.
James also denied claims that he was bankrolled by the president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is a product of one of Michigan’s wealthiest political families.
“I haven’t gotten any money from Donald Trump. I haven’t gotten any money from Betsy DeVos. I haven’t gotten any money — that’s political talking points. Very little of that is true,” James said in the video that was obtained by POLITICO. However, despite James’ words, he has received money from a super PAC that is heavily supported by DeVos’ family.
James, a 38-year-old Iraq War veteran, has a challenging task running in Michigan, a swing state where Trump is trailing Joe Biden by 8 percentage points in the presidential race and James is trailing Democratic Sen. Gary Peters by 10 points in the senate race, according to a Fox News poll.
James argued that he’s taking a balanced approach towards any comments about the president and wasn’t afraid to disagree with him.
“I do recognize that it’s human to disagree with people and like I’ve said millions of times, I can agree with the president without worshiping him. I can disagree without attacking him,” James said. He said that he plans to run on local not national issues and Trump “has his own campaign to run.”
“This race isn’t about President Trump,” James said during the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in September. “This race is about people in the state of Michigan who’ve been failed by their leaders for generations. This race is about people who are hurting in this state, and I’m going to make this race about Michigan.”
Regardless, James’ link to Trump — who also endorsed James during his unsuccessful 2018 Senate bid — is still likely to cause some divide.
James has publicly expressed his support from the White House and he recently argued that Trump has “done everything that he has thought was best” in handling the coronavirus pandemic. This is not a popular sentiment, even amongst people within the White House circle.
Still, Trump aides will surely be on the lookout for any major dissent from James. According to POLITICO, eyebrows were already raised when James announced his Senate bid in June and tweeted, “We are heading in the wrong direction as a country and our leaders in Washington are failing to lead us toward a better and brighter future.”