It’s atypical for a member of Congress to run an ad saying they straight-out dislike their own party’s presidential nominee. Then again, this isn’t a typical election year, and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) has just made it even less so.
Coffman released an ad online on Thursday in which he says, “People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump?’”
“Honestly, I don’t care for him much,” Coffman replies, adding that he “certainly” doesn’t trust Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I’m a Marine,” he continues in the ad. “For me, country comes first. My duty is always to you. So if Donald Trump is president, I’ll stand up to him, plain and simple. And if Hillary wins, I’ll hold her accountable every step of the way.”
Coffman is one of many Republicans who have tried to distance themselves from Trump. Another legislator, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), also aired a campaign ad that specifically referenced the candidate.
Coffman most recently criticized Trump this week, after the presidential nominee and his allies went after Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son died while serving in the Iraq War.
“Having served in Iraq, I’m deeply offended when Donald Trump fails to honor the sacrifices of all of our brave soldiers who were lost in that war,” he said.
He has also criticized Trump in the past for being “divisive.”
Coffman is in a swing district that has a growing Latino population, which led to his shift a few years ago to a more pro-immigration stance.
Honestly, I don't care for him much. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) in a new campaign ad.
Democrats, including Colorado state Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll, a challenger for Coffman’s House seat, have tried to tie him to Trump on policy. Some cite a spokeswoman’s comments in February that Coffman would “obviously” support a Republican nominee over Clinton or her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The spokeswoman, it should be noted, went on to say Coffman believed the Republican nominee would be Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
A different campaign spokeswoman, Cinamon Watson, told The Huffington Post earlier this week that Coffman has not endorsed the presidential candidate and “has voiced grave concern about Mr. Trump’s policies and his tone.”
Watson said Thursday that "Hillary Clinton is not an option" and that Coffman will not vote for her. She did not directly answer whether he has ruled out voting for Trump. He "is considering his options -- like a lot of Americans," she said in an email.
Other Republicans have come out this week to say they will not vote for the party nominee. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) said Tuesday that he has “no plans on making an endorsement or voting for the nominee,” but also has ruled out voting for Clinton. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Wednesday that Trump had crossed too many “red lines” to win his support, although he does not plan to vote for Clinton, either.
One Republican congressman, Richard Hanna of New York, went a step further, saying he would vote for Clinton because of his opposition to Trump.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump
This article has been updated with an additional comment from Cinamon Watson.