New York’s disgraced former Republican Rep. Michael Grimm said it’s a “no-win” situation for President Trump when endorsing congressional candidates.
Grimm is campaigning for his old seat in the state’s primary this month. He is competing against incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., whom the president endorsed this week.
“Out of respect for the president, I wouldn’t advise him to get involved in House primaries because you either upset the grass-roots or the entrenched establishment, making it a no-win situation,” Grimm told Fox News, adding that it was “not a warning” to avoid involvement.
Trump’s endorsement of Donovan came with a reminder for voters of Alabama’s special Senate election last year — when Roy Moore seized the Republican nomination but ultimately lost the general election to Democrat Doug Jones amid a sexual misconduct accusations.
Grimm, a former two-term congressman, FBI agent and lawyer, fell from grace in 2014 when he was indicted on 20 counts of tax evasion, hiring undocumented immigrants and perjury. Grimm pleaded guilty to one count of federal tax fraud — for paying undocumented workers under the table — and spent seven months of an eight-month sentence in a minimum security federal prison.
“There is no one better to represent the people of N.Y. and Staten Island (a place I know very well) than @RepDanDonovan, who is strong on Borders & Crime, loves our Military & our Vets, voted for Tax Cuts and is helping me to Make America Great Again. Dan has my full endorsement!” Trump tweeted this week.
He added: “Very importantly, @RepDanDonovan will win for the Republicans in November…and his opponent will not. Remember Alabama. We can’t take any chances on losing to a Nancy Pelosi controlled Democrat!”
Donovan didn't vote with the president on tax cuts.
Grimm is honing in on that--releasing a new television ad Friday titled: “Every time it mattered, Dan Donovan voted against President Trump.”
Donovan, who has been in New York City politics for decades, has said that Trump endorsed him at least six times throughout his political career. He has had, though, to explain voting against Trump’s tax overhaul and plan to replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law — ObamaCare.
“I vote with Trump 90 percent of the time,” Donovan said. “I vote with my constituents 100 percent of the time.”
Grimm’s criminal history has been the central issue for the former congressman throughout the campaign.
The president this week pardoned conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza who pleaded guilty in 2014 for donating $20,000 to New York politician Wendy Long, allegedly going over the contribution limit by directing other donors to give to her. He was sentenced to five years of probation and eight months in a halfway house, and paid a $30,000 fine.
D’Souza had claimed for years that he was unfairly singled out for prosecution and unfairly treated by the Obama administration.
When asked if Grimm wanted a presidential pardon from Trump, he replied: “Of course!”
“I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t, especially in my circumstances,” Grimm said, insisting that his harsh sentence was politically motivated.
The New York primary is set for June 26.
Fox News' Rick Leventhal and The Associated Press contributed to this report.