Trump-endorsed Lee says vaguely critical things about Trump style

Gov. Bill Lee and first lady Maria Lee appear with then-President Donald Trump after touring tornado damage in Middle Tennessee on March 20, 2020. (Image credit: State of Tennessee)

Gov. Bill Lee was endorsed for re-election by former President Donald Trump in August 2021, which might have gone a long way toward dissuading a major primary challenge.

But when Trump was announcing a renewed bid for president at his West Palm Beach, Fla., home on Tuesday, Lee was 170 miles away at a meeting of the Republican Governor’s Association in Orlando. Several elected leaders at the RGA meeting blamed Trump for the GOP’s disappointing showing last week’s congressional elections.

“Our children learn a lot by what we say and what we do. And they especially mimic and learn by how we treat other people,” The Washington Post quoted Lee as saying at one panel discussion. “And there is not much inspiring about the way we treat people in politics.”

Lee reportedly argued a return to a “degree of civility” would “inspire a group of voters” to vote for Republicans.

Here’s what Trump had to say about Lee in announcing his endorsement through his PAC last year:

Governor Bill Lee is an outsider who led the Great State of Tennessee through difficult times, without compromising his Conservative Values. Tennesseans enjoy more freedom than ever before. He fully supports Law Enforcement, Strong Borders, the Second Amendment, our Military and our Vets. Re-electing Bill Lee means putting America first. Bill has my Complete and Total Endorsement!


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