GOP congressional candidates critical of Trump's tweets
None of the three Republican candidates for Illinois' 10th Congressional District seat are happy with how President Donald Trump uses Twitter to communicate with America and the world.
And only one of the three said they voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, even though Trump was their party's nominee.
Dr. Sapan Shah, Jeremy Wynes and Doug Bennett are seeking the GOP nomination in the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. The winner of the March 20 primary will face Democratic incumbent Brad Schneider in November's general election.
The candidates talked about Trump's tweets and other issues with representatives of the Daily Herald editorial board and in follow-up interviews.
Trump has received praise and criticism for his extensive use of Twitter to talk about political policies, praise supporters, attack political enemies and lambaste the media.
Shah, of Libertyville, said he'd "love" to see Trump tweet less often.
"That's probably generally a majority opinion across the country," he said.
Shah said he doesn't mind Trump using Twitter to communicate directly with Americans. "But my hope is that he would focus on substantive content rather than personal and political attacks," he said.
Shah said he didn't cast a vote for president in 2016 because of the personal attacks that muddied the showdown between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
"Our politics have become so dysfunctional, and I was concerned that neither candidate seemed interested in healing this political divide so we could bring the country together and make progress," he said.
Wynes, of Highland Park, said he doesn't understand Trump's "divisive communications approach and hyper-personal approach to the office he holds."
But Wynes also said it's not productive for lawmakers to spend time commenting on every tweet Trump writes.
"I do think there's a fine line there, where you can get too caught up in what the president is talking about on a day-to-day basis," Wynes said. "I hope that this is a moment where we can ... move away a little bit from an unhealthy preoccupation with the executive branch and focus more on what's happening on the congressional level."
Like Shah, Wynes said he didn't back Trump or Clinton in 2016.
"I wrote in a Republican alternative," Wynes said.
He refused to identify the person who received his vote.
Bennett, of Deerfield, said he's more interested in the president's policy decisions than what he says on Twitter. Even so, Bennett said he doesn't think Trump "gets many style points for the way he expresses himself."
Bennett tempered his criticism by saying he tries not to get into what he called "the 'I would have said that better' discussion."
He doesn't expect Trump to soften his tweets.
"I guess he feels like he won the election because he was tweeting, and it's unlikely that he's going to change anytime soon," Bennett said. "That's the way he is."
Bennett, the vice chairman of the West Deerfield Township Republican organization, said he voted for Trump in 2016. Not voting, he said, "seems like an act of cowardice."