When Chris Christie surprised many by announcing his support for Donald Trump last week, the concern among Republican insiders wasn’t that the New Jersey governor’s supporters would flock to the GOP frontrunner. After all, Christie’s presidential campaign didn’t fare especially well, and he had no control over a meaningful block of voters.
Instead, the fear was that Christie, a prominent figure in the Republican establishment, would represent a domino of sorts. Trump struggled for months to find even one GOP governor or member of Congress willing to support him publicly, and Christie’s endorsement offered the opportunity of an open door. If the governor could take this step, others could do the same.
And as Politico reported, some additional Republicans are doing exactly that.
Rep. Tom Marino, a Republican from the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, is jumping on the Trump train.Marino on Monday became the fifth sitting member of Congress to publicly throw his support to Donald Trump, as the Republican front-runner rolls toward Super Tuesday. In an exclusive interview Monday with POLITICO, Marino, a former prosecutor, said Trump has “overwhelming support” in his district because “he’s the man for the unprotected … not the protected, not for the Wall Street people, not for the DC insiders, but for the hard-working taxpayers.”
Around the same time, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) also announced that he, too, is supporting Trump. In a written statement, the Tennessee Republican said he’s impressed with his party’s other candidates, but he sees Trump as “the candidate best poised to make America great again.”
There was apparently some discussion about whether or not this counts as a literal endorsement, but DesJarlais chose to issue a statement announcing that he’d voted for Trump and supports Trump’s candidacy. I suppose we can have a semantics debate over the meaning of “endorse,” though for all intents and purposes, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to.
Regardless, over the course of just six days, Trump has now picked up support from four U.S. House members, a U.S. senator, and two sitting Republican governors. That’s still far short of the endorsement totals posted by Marco Rubio – the establishment’s darling – but it’s evidence of a party that’s slowly, grudgingly coming around to the possibility of a Trump nomination.