“I have an obligation to the party. I mean, what am I going to do? I can’t vote for George Washington. So I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Dole explained on Friday’s “Morning Edition.”
Other party elders, including former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, have signaled that they aren’t going to get behind Trump, this year’s presumptive GOP nominee.
In addition to running a scorched earth primary campaign, Republican leaders widely condemned Trump’s recent argument that a federal judge’s Mexican heritage caused a “conflict of interest” in a case involving Trump University. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said earlier this week that he would rescind his Trump endorsement.
But Dole, 92, said he was a loyal Republican and could not get behind Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, whom he also labeled “flawed.” In 1996, Dole unsuccessfully ran against Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.
“I’ve been a Republican all my life. And I know that both candidates are flawed and Trump has done some things that would curl your hair — things that he shouldn’t have said,” the former Senate majority leader from Kansas said.
Dole said he talked to Trump and encouraged him to focus on the issues instead of insulting people “in a derisive way.” He said he also encouraged Trump to pick former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as his vice presidential nominee.
“I’m the only former [GOP nominee] that’s going to be at the convention, I understand. And I’m going to try to be his senior adviser,” Dole said. “I’ve learned a little over the years. It might be helpful.”
Listen to the interview below: