IN Focus: Rokita on backlash over 2016 comments calling Trump “vulgar”

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INDIANAPOLIS - On this week's edition of IN Focus, we sit down one-on-one with all three Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, in what's been called the nation's 'nastiest' GOP primary.

Lately, the race has been attracting national attention with the primary now just one month away.

An article in the New York Times described the race in this fashion:

In many parts of the country, Republican candidates are trying to put distance between themselves and President Trump. In the Indiana Senate primary, the bruising fight is over which candidate is the more authentically Trumpian.

As the May 8 primary election approaches, the race here has taken a nasty turn, with candidates attacking one another as insufficiently aligned with the president, or way too late to Team Trump. Some Republicans worry that the tenor has the potential to bloody the winner so badly that he will be weakened in the general election contest against Senator Joe Donnelly, one of this election year’s most vulnerable Democrats.

The Washington Post took note of candidate Todd Rokita's recent campaign ad in which Rokita dons a "Make America Great Again" hat, while the Associated Press noted Rokita hasn't always spoken kindly of Trump, referencing an interview he gave on IN Focus back in 2016.

In that interview days before Super Tuesday, Rokita said he was endorsing then-Presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

“When you see Marco contrasted with Donald Trump, I mean someone who is vulgar, if not profane,” Rokita said in Feburary 2016. "At some point you have to be Presidential."

In the video above, Rokita defends his support of Trump, saying he now admires him because he is "not politically correct" and that he's "come to love that about him."

Fellow candidate Mike Braun called Rokita a "chameleon" after the AP story broke.

Rokita has blasted opponent Luke Messer for not supporting Trump early in the 2016 campaign, and for Messer's remarks that year discussing the possibility of a contested convention.

In the video below, Rokita blasts his opponents for their record on tax-related legislation.


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