U.S. Rep. David Rouzer, a Republican from Johnston County, offered a surprising prediction for the presidential race in a recent radio interview.
“Trump is probably going to be president,” Rouzer told Tyler Cralle, a Wilmington talk show host. “I think he’s going to be the nominee, whether he’s president or not.”
The comment makes Rouzer one of the rare Republican leaders who say Trump might win. Rouzer has not publicly endorsed Trump or any other presidential candidate.
Rouzer’s Trump comment was a brief aside as he discussed oil-related provisions in the omnibus spending bill approved by Congress. Rouzer said the repeal of the country’s ban on crude oil exports will make the U.S. “more dominant” in international oil markets – and Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizes that he’ll need that American oil.
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“There’s a reason that Putin is saying nice things about Trump,” Rouzer said. “He’s hedging his bets and I think he’s right.”
While Trump has led most North Carolina polls for months, he hasn’t announced any high-profile endorsements from the state’s Republican lawmakers.
Among North Carolina legislators and Congressmen, Jeb Bush leads with four endorsements, and Marco Rubio and John Kasich have two each. Rep. Jon Hardister is backing Carly Fiorina, Congressman Walter Jones supports Rand Paul, and Rep. Rayne Brown endorsed Ted Cruz.
Here’s the audio of Rouzer’s interview with Cralle: