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As Trump Tours Texas, Cornyn Takes a Pass

Bob Daemmrich
Texas Tribune
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn during a 2014 Texas Tribune Festival interview.

Senator John Cornyn endorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in May.  Trump made a swing through Dallas last night – he’s in the Houston area today, but this week Cornyn told reporters in Washington D.C. he’s done talking about his party's nominee until after the November election and he’s not attending Trump’s campaign events in Texas this week.

It's not that the senior senator from Texas won't talk about his party's presidential candidate at all. In a press conference Thursday he talked at length about Trump's campaign swing through Texas this week, saying this is a good time for Texans to kick the tires and see what they think.

“Obviously he's been successful in his profession. And I think people need to listen and learn more about how he would be as president,” he said.

But, instead of making it to some of Trump’s Texas events, Cornyn will be speaking to the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, which brings us back to what he said about not talking about Trump until after the election. Considering Cornyn is the second highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, does his decision to not talk about his party's nominee mean something more?

“Well, I think people may try to read something into it that I'm not suggesting. I'm just suggesting, I've got a job to do representing 27 million Texans in the Senate,” he said. “So, I'm not going to provide color commentary on the presidential primary. I just don't have the time and, frankly, I don't have the interest.”

Cornyn says it was a pragmatic statement. You see, in the halls of the U.S. Capitol, there are often roaming packs of reporters searching for fresh meat or lawmakers to give them a quote.

“First, second and last question they seem to ask when the candidate for president, Mr. Trump, makes a statement is to come over and ask for a comment on it,” he said. “And I'm just not going to do that. No offense.”

But, of course, Cornyn can't control what the press asks him, and, if Donald Trump continues to make newsworthy statements on the campaign trail, the press will continue ask Cornyn about it, whether he answers or not.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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