INDIANAPOLIS – This week, Rex Early and I endorsed Congressman Todd Rokita for the U.S. Senate seat held currently by Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly. It was an honor to serve with Rex as the Trump-Pence Indiana 2016 campaign chairman and vice chairman.  

As Rex and I campaigned around the state for Donald Trump in 2016, we met many Hoosiers who said they hadn’t voted for years or decades or ever because they didn’t trust Washington and were waiting for someone like Donald Trump. Our challenge now is to keep those folks engaged and encourage them to vote for like-minded candidates for Congress in 2018.    

For the U.S. Senate seat, that person is Congressman Rokita. There are plenty of reasons to support Todd, from his great work as Indiana’s Secretary of State, to his many accomplishments in Congress, to his no-nonsense approach to help Make America Great Again!  

For Rex and me, the primary reason is to again help our president. Todd proved to us two years ago that he was for President Trump and has proven ever since that we can trust him to stand with our president even when things are tough.

Todd was the one person from Indiana’s congressional delegation that reached out to us in the summer of 2016 to ask how he could help. I know this because I’m the one he called.

As I was also on the campaign payroll as the Indiana communications director, I scheduled him on three radio interviews. He helped by getting a positive message for candidate Trump out to the public through the media. He did other things too on his own, including inviting one of our campaign staff, Cody Reynolds, to come speak at his Rokita Family Fun Day rally.

All of this meant a lot to Rex and me because as we were making over 50 county visits in the last nine weeks of the campaign, we grew extremely frustrated with other Republicans that continued to attack Donald Trump long after the primaries were over.  

It’s one thing to criticize a candidate during a primary when you’re helping the candidate you support, but to do so after the primaries and after the convention is only for your own political gain at the expense of our nominee.  

With the latest back and forth on who supports Trump the most, I decided to look for those radio interviews that Todd did to help candidate Trump. Luckily, I found one still on WIBC’s website. I had forgotten that the interview was after the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If you remember, it was this first debate that so many in the media declared her to have won. I even remember an SNL skit with Hillary dancing and drinking champagne with her supporters, already celebrating the election victory.  

Trump clearly won the next two debates, but it was this first battle that he needed the most help with afterwards. And that’s when Rokita stood up strong for him.  

There had been several “gotcha moments” from Hillary in the debate and Todd had to defend Trump against them, making the point that they actually provided a chance for Hoosiers and Americans to connect with Donald Trump.

To Hillary’s attack on Trump’s finances, Rokita responded, “In Indiana’s 4th District and Indiana itself, there are thousands of people that he connected with again last night. She bashed him for some of the bankruptcies that he’s filed. There’s a lot of people in this country that had to file for bankruptcy, who had to avail themselves of the same law that Donald Trump was talking about.” 

Hillary attacked Trump on his tax returns, to which Rokita said he doesn’t believe any average people care about seeing them. “Another great example of, ‘Who cares?’ to people in Indiana trying to get a paycheck and hang on to as much of that as possible, whether he produces tax returns, maybe matters to the Washington elite, maybe matters to the news media, maybe it matters to congressmen and women. It doesn’t matter to them (average Hoosiers),” said Rokita.

A couple of additional Rokita answers from the interview:

“What we saw last night was the status quo versus a change agent. And everywhere I’m going around Indiana and the 4th District, we’re ready for a change agent and that was Donald Trump last night. I think Donald Trump did great. I don’t know what all the pundits and elites are saying but the man was poised, agile, determined and showed to be the exact kind of leader we need.”

I’m glad I found this interview because it proves what we’ve been saying – Todd Rokita stood strong for Donald Trump when it mattered the most. While Rokita was defending Trump, of the other two Republican Senate candidates, one was doing nothing to help and the other was making it harder for our nominee to beat “Crooked Hillary” by going on C-Span and CNN of all places to criticize Donald Trump.

We expect attacks on our president from the left and the media but when Republicans do it, we hurt our chances to win elections and we make it harder for the president to govern effectively.  

We need a Republican in the Senate that has proven he will stand with our President even in the tough times. That candidate is Todd Rokita. 

Samuel is president of Samuel Solutions and was vice chair of the Trump Indiana campaign.