Rep. Vern Buchanan not a ‘huge fan’ of Donald Trump

While not a “huge fan” of Donald Trump, Rep. Vern Buchanan says he will support whomever is the Republican presidential nominee.

“I am not a huge fan, but I am going to support the nominee,” Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, said at a Manatee Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday. “Hopefully he will be a lot better than Hillary (Clinton) because if you’ve liked Obama the last eight years, you love Hillary.”

During his remarks at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Bradenton, Buchanan also said he is glad to see Rep. David Jolly announce his plans to run for re-election against Charlie Crist in the 13th Congressional District, instead of for the Senate, and is excited about the possibility of Marco Rubio running for re-election to his U.S. Senate seat.

“I’m excited about the possibility that Marco Rubio looks like he might come back in,” Buchanan said. “I think he gives us probably the best chance to hold the seat, and I would love for (Bradenton developer) Carlos (Beruff) to have that opportunity but that decision has to be made this week. I like the idea that Carlos is a business guy.”

In terms of the presidential election, Buchanan said he previously supported former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush but now feels that Trump “will be a much better president than Hillary.”

“I think Trump has run not a traditional campaign,” Buchanan said. “I think there is a lot of support for Trump, a lot of energy. The reality of it is in the state of Florida he won 66 out of 67 counties,” in the Republican presidential primary in March.

Buchanan also addressed a number of other topics during his more than 30 minutes of speaking.

Gun violence after the Orlando nightclub shooting: “We are afraid to say we are at war with ISIS and we’ve got to deal with it. Be more aggressive I think on that front and be aggressive what we can do here with vendors. ... It is a big issue I’m very focused on and a lot of other people about we aggressively do business differently going forward than we have in the past couple of years but if you don’t identify the problem, then it is hard to attack the problem. To me, there are different issues but the biggest issue is the radicalization of people that are here in the country we got to clearly deal with because at the end of the day, our No. 1 job, most important thing, is to keep people safe.

Business: “We’ve got to do everything we can to help our small businesses be more successful, encourage start-ups.”

Health care: “Our health care costs are twice what they should be. I think the whole thing needs to be revisited and the money that is paid for premiums here needs to find a way to stay in our communities.”

Trade: “We’ve been played, but we do need to find a way of trying to have trade agreements make good sense to us, keep jobs here and creates jobs here.”

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson

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