Front-runners in the GOP primary race for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin refused to “fall into the trap” of criticizing President Trump during a debate.
A debate was held Thursday night to help voters decide between Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir who are neck-and-neck, according to the latest Marquette poll.
Debate moderator Charles Benson questioned the GOP pair on whether there were any issues where they disagreed with Trump, noting the Marquette poll found that Trump has an 86 percent approval rating with Wisconsin Republicans.
But Vukmir and Nicholson were not taking the bait, and staunchly praised the president.
“I’m not going to fall into the trap. The president has done good work and we should applaud him for it,” replied Nicholson, a former Democrat and Marine veteran.
“Mr. Nicholson, I’m not asking you to fall into a trap,” Benson said. “I’m asking you to talk about … there are things that [the president] has said and done, and even some people wonder when will Republicans push back when they disagree on things. I mean, are there things that you disagree with him on?”
“The farmers are telling me that they’re going to give this president an opportunity because they know that they need access to more markets, not fewer markets,” Vukmir said, referring to concerns from businesses and agriculture groups in the state about trade wars between the U.S. and other countries.
“We’ve seen that the president’s negotiating skills have made a difference just with what happened in the EU, so we need to give him more time,” Vukmir added.
Nicholson called out Canada for dairy and logging industry policies that have hurt Wisconsin farmers and businesses while he also praised Trump for his actions on trade.
“We’re going to be selling more soybeans to the EU now,” he said, and noted tariffs were allowed to be imposed by “professional politicians.”
Vukmir and Nicholson had similar stances on health care and immigration policies including a border wall and how to handle the 7,000 “Dreamers” in Wisconsin. Their views lined up with Trump’s and they both praised his agenda, refusing to call out anything Trump’s has done that they opposed.
“A liberal elite media want nothing more than to bring this president down,” Vukmir said during the deabte. “I want to see President Donald Trump succeed. When President Donald Trump succeeds, America succeeds.”
The Aug. 14 primary will decide who will be moving ahead to face off against Trump critic, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.
Watch the GOP Senate debate via WTMJ-TV.
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