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Freshman Texas Republican in once-safe GOP district calls out Trump on McCain bashing

Rep. Chip Roy won 2018 midterm election by less than 3 points in largely suburban district

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, are seen in the House Chamber before President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, are seen in the House Chamber before President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address in February. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A freshman Republican from Texas took a step not many other GOP lawmakers in his state’s delegation have taken: calling out President Donald Trump by name for his ongoing, post-mortem feud with the late Sen. John McCain.

“I disagree with the POTUS standing in front of M1A1 Abram tanks & the American flag and spending time trashing POW veteran and former US Senator McCain,” Rep. Chip Roy tweeted late Wednesday.

The freshman Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz‘s former chief of staff, also criticized Trump for labeling the U.S. military and diplomatic campaign in the Middle East an “unqualified disaster” in the president’s winding, off-script speech in Lima, Peru, on Wednesday.

“I agree we should be re-think our strategy & engagement [in the Middle East], but words matter to the heroes who have bled the ground red and accomplished much in the process,” Roy tweeted.

Roy represents Texas’ largely suburban 21st District that encompasses the outer reaches of San Antonio and a large swath of the Austin area. The district has trended away from the Republican stronghold it once was over the last few election cycles.

Watch — Trump: McCain got the funeral he wanted, and I ‘didn’t get a thank you’

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Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican for the 2020 midterms.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district by 22 points over Barack Obama in 2012. Trump’s margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016 was much smaller — 10 percentage points. Roy squeaked out a 3-point victory over his Democratic opponent, Joseph Kopser, in the 2018 midterms last November.

Kopser, who is considering challenging Roy or taking on Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn in 2020, commended his 2018 opponent for standing up against Trump and defending McCain.

“I have to give credit when needed. Americans should celebrate heroes like [McCain] and I salute [Roy] for speaking out,” Kopser tweeted Thursday.

Trump has been criticized by lawmakers from both parties for continuing to lambaste McCain, the longtime GOP senator from Arizona, even after he died from brain cancer last year.

During his speech in Lima, Ohio, on Wednesday, the president complained that he never received a thank you for McCain’s funeral in Washington.

“I gave him [McCain] the kind of funeral he wanted, which as president I had to approve. And I didn’t get a thank you. But that’s OK,” Trump said, adding that he “never liked” the former U.S. Navy fighter pilot who was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

Roy said he will continue to stand by the president “when it comes to policies that will secure the border, drain the swamp, restore fiscal sanity, and establish healthcare freedom,” he tweeted Wednesday.

“But I see only harm and no benefit in looking backward,” Roy wrote.

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