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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis supports Donald Trump "now more than ever" after RNC



Freshly home from the Republican National Convention, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis says he's more certain than ever about Donald Trump as his party's presidential candidate.

"I'm not going to defend him at all on those extreme things" such as a proposed ban on Muslims entering the country, said Bilirakis, who backed Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio before settling on Trump. "We don't agree on everything."

But the fifth-term representative from Palm Harbor, whose father held the seat before him, said he believes Trump will surround himself with "extremely capable people" who will help lead the nation in the right direction.

Bilirakis praised the selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the party's vice presidential candidate, and had good things to say about some of the other people advising Trump.

"I'd like to see Rudy (Giuliani) in there," he said. "Newt (Gingrich) has a lot of great ideas. ... (Chris) Christie would be a good Cabinet member."

He also lauded retired Gen. Michael Flynn, a former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency who's been called Trump's favorite general, as a top choice to oversee national security.

"If he wins ... I think he's going to bear down and listen to his Cabinet and act responsibly," Bilirakis said of Trump.

Bilirakis, vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is seeking a sixth term. He has no primary opposition in the District 12 race, with Democrat Robert Tager challenging him in the general election.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 12:38pm]


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