Will the three Republicans vying to represent North Carolina’s 9th congressional district support Donald Trump for president?
And where do they stand on Trump’s signature proposals: to build a border wall (and get Mexico to pay for it), to deport the millions of immigrants who came here illegally, and to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States?
Here’s what they said about:
U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger: “To me, the alternative (to Trump) is more Obama-like policies either through Bernie Sanders or I would say Bernie Sanders with a dress on – one in the same.”
The Rev. Mark Harris: “If Donald Trump is the nominee of the party, I will support him over Hillary Clinton. Most definitely.”
Former Union County commissioner Todd Johnson: “I fully believe that he will be much better than Hillary Clinton. I fully believe that Hillary Clinton would not only be an extension of President Obama, but Hillary Clinton will be Obama times three. She has a complete total disregard for the rule of law.”
The Wall/mass deportations
Pittenger: “Our border is 40 percent porous. This is a national security issue, not just an immigration issue. But (President Obama) will not agree to specific legislation that will secure our border. That’s the primary issue. What you do after that – you have a national conversation about what to do with the 12-13 million people who are here. Some are needed.”
Harris: “Building a wall is consistent with my position that we must secure the border first. ... (On deportation), I think there are means that the federal government, working with law enforcement, could send back those caught doing something illegal. That would be a great first step.”
Johnson: “First, we have to secure the border with what could be a physical wall or a virtual wall. We have a ship that’s taking in water. We can’t begin to get the water out of the ship until we plug the hole. ... I don’t think we can even begin to have that discussion (on mass deportations) until the border is secure.”
Pittenger: “I think he needs to sit down with Arab leaders, as I have. They are as opposed to Islamic terrorism as we are ... and we need these people to fight ISIS. (Banning Muslims coming to the United States) is going to create a very complicated unnecessary problem for you in defeating ISIS. You can’t offend somebody and influence them at the same time.”
Harris: “I understand his sentiment. But choosing any particular religion for persecution is not in keeping with who we are as Americans.”
Johnson: “I don’t see (the need for) a religious test. ... I have no problem with people coming into the country that have proper background checks and are coming here for gainful employment.”