The political newcomer nominated by Republicans for an open congressional seat was revealed to have a past completely different than what President Donald Trump claimed when he flew to Topeka earlier this month to campaign, McClatchy DC reported Monday.
On October 6, President Donald Trump flew to Topeka to campaign for Sunflower State Republicans, including congressional nominee Steve Watkins.
During a feisty campaign speech, Trump claimed, “Republicans stand proudly with the brave men and women of ICE, border patrol, and law enforcement.”
“And we need law enforcement … these are great people,” Trump argued. “A vote for Republicans is a vote … to respect our borders, respect our constitution, and respect the heroes of law enforcement, and that’s what they are. They’re our heroes.”
But McClatchy DC found old Facebook interactions by Watkins, the GOP nominee in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, disparaging law enforcement.
One post Watkins liked called two law enforcement officers “thug criminals” while offering no pity that “their world is about to come down around them.”
Another referred to police officers as “racist.”
Watkins is facing Democrat Paul Davis in the November election.
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the largest law enforcement organization in Kansas, with 3,400 members.
“We’ve known Paul for years, and we are proud to support his campaign for Congress,” said FOP President Blaine Dryden. “Paul has always supported the priorities of Kansas law enforcement. We trust him to advocate for policies that protect our communities and to fight for the resources our officers need to do their jobs.”
“Paul Davis knows Kansas, and he has an exemplary record of supporting public safety,” said Cherokee County Sheriff and past Kansas Sheriff of the Year Paul Groves. “I know we can count him to keep Kansas safe as a member of Congress.”
When Trump introduced Watkins at the Topeka rally, he referred to him as a “terrific Republican candidate” and added, “I need him in Washington.”
The race may be tightening, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to hold a fundraiser for Watkins’ campaign on Friday.
“Paul always supported the priorities of Kansas #lawenforcement while in #ksleg. We trust him to protect #KS02 communities and to fight for the resources our officers need to do their jobs.” -KS Fraternal Order of Police President Blaine Dryden. https://t.co/EK02uhWRHY# p #14_17 # ad skipped = true #
— Paul Davis (@PaulDavisKS) October 16, 2018# p #15_17 # ad skipped = true #
Thank you for helping us raise $1.3 million this quarter so we can get our message out in the 3 final weeks of the campaign! It's a #KS02 record and show of our support in all 25 counties of the district, with 72% of contributions at $100 or less. Onward! https://t.co/dOZkPh2O93# p #16_17 # ad skipped = true #
— Paul Davis (@PaulDavisKS) October 16, 2018# p #17_17 # ad skipped = true #