Politics

Pete Wilson Endorses Trump, Says President Has ‘Very Good Judgment’

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OAKLAND — Former California Gov. Pete Wilson joined a list Thursday of prominent former Republican leaders who endorsed Donald Trump for reelection, arguing in an interview that the president has “brought a badly needed realism to American security policy.”

Wilson was among nearly seven dozen members of past GOP administrations and Congress who backed Trump in a signed letter that was released by the campaign Thursday and tweeted by the president with the words “THANK YOU! #MAGA.”

Trump “has very good judgment, and very good people around him making honest calls — and alerting him and the rest of the country to the fact that we are facing greater dangers than at any time since Ronald Reagan dealt with the Cold War,’’ Wilson explained to POLITICO Thursday.

The former Republican governor is often blamed for the state party’s woes among voters, especially now that Latino residents comprise a plurality of California’s population. While running for reelection in 1994, Wilson championed Proposition 187, then billed as a way to stop undocumented immigrants from accessing public services. Voters approved the initiative but it was blocked by courts — and is now a far cry from subsequent state policies enacted by Democratic leaders.

Despite Wilson’s legacy on immigration, he was often considered a social moderate in the latter 20th century, supporting abortion rights. And he positioned himself as a moderate Republican during his 1996 run for president — a tack different from Trump’s appeal to the party’s conservative base.

Wilson’s endorsement veers from positions taken by past prominent members of the California Republican establishment. Among them: 2010 gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman; 2010 U. S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina; and high-level strategist Steve Schmidt, who advised President George W. Bush, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

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