It’s no secret that Georgia’s two Republican U.S. senators have starkly different views about the party’s presidential nominee.
Johnny Isakson, facing a November vote, has held Donald Trump at arms’ length, speaking of his support for the candidate at only one speech – at the GOP convention in Cleveland – and refusing to apologize or vouch for his controversial remarks.
David Perdue, fresh off a 2014 victory, has become one of his biggest champions since his red-capped endorsement of the candidate, a potential Cabinet appointee and a chief defender of his economic policies.
But Perdue’s comments about Trump on Tuesday were less effusive than they were in the past.
Perdue was asked essentially the same question Isakson was posed last week: whether he stands by Trump after his recent round of controversial remarks, including his feud with the family of a slain Muslim U.S. soldier and his repeated assertion that President Barack Obama is the founder of ISIS.
“The only way I can answer it is the way I answer in my own heart. In business you look at your alternatives. This alternative is not perfect,” he said, saying that Trump remains the better pick than the “liberal activist” Clinton.
“Would I like for him to be a lot more circumspect? Sure. We all would,” he said, adding: “But we’ve had eight years of failure, in the economy in social services, in foreign policy, in education. She has not offered any change.”
The GOP, he added, will forever be changed by Trump’s ability to draw in newcomers, crystallized by his primary victories in disparate states like Michigan and Mississippi on the same day.
“My answer is it’s a decision between two alternatives and when you’re looking at the alternative, it’s an easy decision,” he said. “We’ve got eight years of failure and I’m picking the high ground, because she’s not offering any solutions.”
A few minutes later, Perdue was asked about the recent comments from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The Democrat ripped into Republicans who refused to denounce Trump, saying history – and Georgia voters – “are really never going to forgive failing to act.”
“That observation from that mayor is the perfect example of what I ran against. That’s a political insider’s observation. I’m not worried about the impact it has on me. I want to change the direction of our country. I think we’re in such a crisis that we need somebody different in the White House that will lead to a change in direction.
“What Hillary Clinton is promising is more of the same. More taxes, more regulation, bigger government, a single-payer healthcare system, a liberal Supreme Court. It’s amazing to me that that can be acceptable.”