Ayotte Hoping for Change in Tone From Trump Heading Into Election

May 17, 2016

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

While Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she won’t endorse Donald Trump, she would welcome a change in tone heading into November’s election.

“I would certainly like him to speak in ways that are more inclusive. I believe that’s important,” Ayotte told NHPR’s Morning Edition, referring to the GOP’s apparent presidential nominee.

“And I hope that he will surround himself with knowledgeable people on important issues, like foreign policy,” she added. “To me, that’s important for any candidate for president.”

Ayotte is up for re-election this fall, and has said she will support Trump, but will not endorse him.

Ayotte’s Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan, has pounced on that, calling it a “nonsensical” distinction.

Asked to clarify her position on Trump, Ayotte said:

“I plan to vote for our nominee, but I’m not going to be endorsing. When I endorse a candidate, I’m campaigning. I’m really focusing also on advocating for other people to vote for them and to get out for them. I’m not going to be doing that this election,” she said. “I’m going to be focusing on my own election and my work in the Senate.”

Ayotte has joined her GOP Senate colleagues in blocking any hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Ayotte and other Republicans argue that nomination should be left to the next president.

Asked whether she trusted Trump to make that nomination, Ayotte said:

“The people should weigh in in November and who they choose should really be an indicator of who makes that nomination,” she said. “Whoever the people vote for in November is appropriate.”