State Sen. Jon Woods of Springdale today endorsed Donald Trump for president. Statement from the Trump campaign:
Senator Woods had this to say about Mr. Trump, “I support Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican Presidential bid of the United States of America. Donald Trump is a Christian Conservative who is strongly pro-life, understands the importance of the 2nd amendment, supports a limited government, is anti new taxes and loves his family and country deeply. I believe Donald Trump’s leadership as President of the United States will Make America Great Again.”
We are honored to have the support and endorsement of Senator Woods.
Woods, who is not seeking re-election, is the first lawmaker in Arkansas to endorse Trump. The announcement came this afternoon, odd timing given that voting has already started.
UPDATE: I just spoke to Woods by phone.
“I’ve always been a fan,” Woods said. “It’s not anything new to me. I bought ‘The Art of the Deal’ and the ‘Art of the Comeback’ when they came out. I’ve just followed him for a long time. I’m very familiar with his politics. I already voted for him and I think he’ll be our nominee.”
I asked Woods what drew him to Trump during this campaign. “He can see people for what they are and who they are,” he said. “He pegs people pretty quick, he’s good at it.” Woods said that ‘Art of the Comeback,’ which he called “a great book,” demonstrates this knack of Trump’s. “There’s a lot that people in general can learn [from his books],” Woods said.
“He sees through people,” Woods said. “He sees through organizations out there that are in it for their personal gain. He sees through it. He calls them out. That’s what I like about him. He’s a loner. I love it.”
I asked Woods what issues were most important to him in the campaign.
“I think the reason why he’s doing so well,” Woods responded, “is that he tells it like it is. He calls individuals and organizations out for what they are. He knows how to deal with bullies. And I think a lot of people know what it’s like to be bullied. A lot of people see him as being bullied. That makes people gravitate toward him more. He’s someone who can take a tremendous amount of pressure and heat and not back down, which is rare. That’s a big turn-on for a lot of people, that appeals to a lot of folks.”
Woods said he would support whoever gets the GOP nomination.
Woods had previously supported native son Mike Huckabee, but once Huckabee dropped out, Woods settled on Trump. He said he has been in communication with the Trump campaign about an endorsement for a while, but the Trump campaign has been swamped. That’s why the news only came out today, midway through voting. Woods added that he has gotten a lot of calls from constituents asking for advice on who to vote for today in downballot races and he wanted to be able to offer his endorsement for the top of the ticket as well.
Woods said that a number of other current and former Arkansas lawmakers have told him they support Trump but are choosing to lay low for now. In the mean time, he said he wasn’t bothered by being the only lawmaker in the state to publicly endorse Trump. “I’ve always been a fan,” he said. “I’ve kind of got the reputation for — it doesn’t bother me to the be the only guy out there, or one of a select few out there championing something.”
I asked Woods whether he was bothered by the recent controversy over Trump’s responses to a CNN reporter about the KKK and David Duke. Woods said that he was not familiar with the controversy but added that Trump should distance himself from such groups.
— Jon Woods (@Jon_Woods) March 1, 2016