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Fact check: Trump falsely claims he ‘did not endorse’ Republican immigration negotiator James Lankford

Former President Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that he didn’t endorse Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, the primary Republican negotiator of a bipartisan immigration bill that Trump has sharply criticized.

In an interview on Monday, right-wing radio host Dan Bongino noted to Trump that some online commentators have pointed out that Trump endorsed Lankford. Bongino defended Trump, saying that people sometimes “let you down” after you endorse them.

But Trump went further – claiming that he never endorsed Lankford at all.

“Just to correct the record, I did not endorse Sen. Lankford. I didn’t do it. He ran, and I did not endorse him,” Trump said. “So I’m sure your person will be happy to hear that.” More than 10 minutes later, Trump added, “I like James. I did not endorse James, but I like James.”

Facts First: Trump’s claim is false. He gave Lankford his “Complete and Total Endorsement” in September 2022, during the general election in the November 2022 midterms – and in his statement endorsing Lankford, he specifically said that Lankford is “Strong on the Border.”

Trump said in the September 27, 2022, endorsement statement: “James was strongly committed to America First, and everything it stood for, and likewise strongly committed to me, as President. Sometimes we didn’t exactly agree on everything, but we do now. He is a very good man with a fabulous wife and family, loves the great State of Oklahoma, and is working very hard on trying to Save our Country from the disaster that it is in.”

In that statement, Trump proceeded to praise Lankford’s stances on the border, the economy, crime, gun rights and energy.

In the interview with Bongino on Monday, more than 10 minutes after his initial denial that he had endorsed Lankford, Trump vaguely hinted that he was talking about how he had withheld his endorsement in Lankford’s 2022 Republican primary – saying Lankford had run against a good man, “and I decided I was not going to endorse James.” Lankford’s main opponent in the Republican primary was a pro-Trump man, while Lankford ran against a female Democrat in the general election in which Trump did endorse.

Nonetheless: Trump categorically and repeatedly declared, with no caveats, that he had not endorsed Lankford at all. That’s not true.

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