Holcomb won’t say he’ll back Trump if he becomes the GOP presidential nominee

  • Comments
  • Print
Gov. Eric Holcomb delivering his seventh State of the State address to the Indiana General Assembly, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 (Peter Blanchard/IBJ photo)

Gov. Eric Holcomb won’t say if he’ll support Donald Trump if he wins the Republican nomination for president, a scenario he acknowledged appears increasingly likely as the former president maintains a strong lead in most political polls despite numerous legal troubles.

“I think it is starting to feel inevitable in the primary,” Holcomb said. “The Trump fever has not broken.”

His comments came during an interview with IBJ ahead of his eighth and final year as governor. Under state law, Holcomb cannot seek a third term.

In June, Holcomb endorsed Mike Pence for the GOP nomination for president. Pence, the former Indiana governor, appointed Holcomb to be his lieutenant governor in 2016 and Pence’s decision to accept Donald Trump’s invitation to be his vice presidential running mate in 2016 paved the way for Holcomb to become governor.

Since Pence dropped out of the presidential race in October, Holcomb hasn’t settled on his next preferred pick, though he spoke highly of candidates who have experience as governors, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“These are governors that actually do things and have records that they can run on, and it does not seem to matter,” Holcomb said. “When you add it all up, it doesn’t seem to matter.”

Endorsements don’t seem to carry the same weight as they once did, Holcomb added. He’s also holding off on endorsing a successor, though Trump already has endorsed U.S. Sen. Mike Braun in a five-way race to become the GOP nominee for Indiana governor.

Despite facing multiple criminal indictments, Trump’s lead over his closest competitors has only widened since April. He holds a 62% favorability rating, followed by DeSantis with 12%, Haley with 11% and Vivek Ramaswamy with 4%, according to FiveThirtyEight polling data.

When pressed on whether he would vote for the former president should he win the nomination, Holcomb replied, “Ask me when that’s not a hypothetical.”

Adding to Trump’s legal troubles, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that he is ineligible for the presidency under the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause and removed him from the state’s presidential primary ballot. But the matter likely will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Holcomb’s current position on Trump is in line with other moderates in the party and is reminiscent of what played out during the 2016 election, when the Republican Party was at first reticent to go all in on Trump until it became clear that he would win the primary, said Tony Samuel, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign in Indiana.

“I think it’s just a matter of time until we get to the primaries, and closer to Indiana’s primary, that some who haven’t shown support will come around,” Samuel told IBJ. “The same thing that went on in 2016 is going on now.”

In October 2016, less than a month before the general election, Holcomb told the Associated Press that he wasn’t sure if he would vote for Trump. After Trump won the election, Holcomb credited him with drawing Hoosier supporters who never voted before.

Holcomb has been neither a vocal supporter or critic of Trump, though in 2021 he called the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol “a stain on our history.”

During his administration, Holcomb has been criticized by the more conservative members of his party for mask mandates and temporary shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic and for his decision to veto a bill that banned transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports.

Trump’s popularity hasn’t waned in part because his populist themes still reverberate with Hoosiers, Samuel said.

“The American voter has concerns about the same kinds of things: taking care of their family, the economy, education, crime…the reason he’s still supported by many is because his message resonates.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

19 thoughts on “Holcomb won’t say he’ll back Trump if he becomes the GOP presidential nominee

  1. Not endorsing Trump is about as easy and low hurdle as there is. If you can’t stand up and call crazy, hateful trash out for what it is, you’re a weak poor excuse of a Governor. Good riddance

    1. He will back Niki Haley she is the Establishment backed candidate! He has globalist NGO aspirations when leaving office, it pays much better than Governor! Fortunately, endorsements don’t have the influence they once did.

      Holcomb is not a leader he is a follower.

    2. The best endorsement trump can get is a non-endorsement from establishment swill like Holcomb. His opinion matters less than Doug Burgum or Asa Hutchinson. In fact, his opinion may matter less than that of Mike Pence.

  2. Politics is an interesting and wicked game. What they all say, externally and believe internally is always different.

    I have supported Holcomb even being a staunch Democrat. It is sad though, the blind and ignorant support Trump has being the con artist he is.

  3. I hate Trump too! Low inflation, low energy prices, border security, no new wars….ugh.

    Love the Biden crime family! 9%+ inflation, taking bribes from China, Russia and Ukraine, open border and new wars for our kids to die in. Wow! Must get 4 more years of more coke in White House and more gay porn in Senate buildings.

    1. I love the folks upset about the bribes they can’t find going to Joe Biden who didn’t care about the open corruption from 2017-2021. If you want to lock up the corrupt, that means you’d best do it for the folks on your own team too. Otherwise you’re just being a partisan, or maybe you’re just trying to normalize corruption.

      Find something on Hunter? Fine, lock him up. And make sure to pull his security clearances. (Wait, what’s that? He wasn’t allowed to work in his dad’s administration? He never had security clearances that his daddy had to order people to give to compromised and unqualified family members through their gritted teeth? Funny, that.)

      Meanwhile Jared Kushner got $2 billion for letting the Saudis dismember and melt down a dissident and … that’s OK. Don’t like Khashoggi? Fine. Explain the money otherwise when the folks who looked into the investment called Kushner’s management inexperienced and the operations of the company were “unsatisfactory in all aspects.” Throwing the book at Hunter while sitting on your hands for Jared’s blood money is a bad look.

      I’m going to guess most of you haven’t visited Central America but I have enough times that I’m perplexed as to why anyone would vote for a guy who wants to turn America into one of those countries, rife with corruption and with rampart poverty and rigged elections. They all end the same way – suckers vote for a populist, they end up worse off than they were while the populist lives like a king off their backs. You may as well be voting for Jim Jones to lead you.

      And, it’s absolutely adorable that you think rolling over and letting China take Taiwan and Russia invade more countries won’t end up with American servicemen and women fighting in a war. It’s a great way to tell the world you slept through world history. Ukraine is destroying the Russian military for a heck of a lot less money and less in people than it would take to do it ourselves.

      Last thing, Bernard. You can’t whine about inflation (driven by higher wages) and “open” borders. You’re either going to pay more for everything and have a “legal” workforce, or you’re going to have illegal immigrants doing all the crummy jobs that no one will do for low wages. You can’t have both. Pick one. And maybe offer those Dreamers citizenship in exchange for border spending … leave foreign policy spending out of it. Unless you’re all in the bag for Putin and dream of having a “leader” like him. Dream of Putin, settle for Todd Rokita and Diego Morales.

    2. How about the political weaponization of our department of justice by the
      Dems and their leftist allies.

      1). Whole Russia Collusion was a lie. Dems such as Adam Schiff and Eric Swallow, flat out lying.

      2). Hunter Biden Laptop that our national news media and law enforcement
      said was Russian Propaganda. Another flat out Dem lie.

      3). Manytimes the so called fact checkers were wrong about Trump. Either
      lying or were very ignorant themselves. All journalistic standards were
      thrown out the window when it came to Trump.

      4). Biden lies more than Trump ever did. But our leftwing activists national news media will not hold Biden accountable. **. Where are the so called
      fact checkers ***. The fact checkers just magically disappeared.

      5). How about our open border that the Biden Administration and the Dems
      deliberately manipulated to turn Texas and other states in the Southwest Blue.

      6). Dems wanting Jan. 6 th Rioters held accountable but not the leftwing scumbag rioters that destroyed our downtowns during 2020.

      7). Dem State Attorney Generals and Prosecutors that ran their political campaigns on bringing down Trum. Sounds very Stalinist.
      ****. Bring me the man, and I’ll find a crime. ******

    3. Had Trump won,
      —. No Russian invasion of Urkraine.
      —. No Hamas October 7 terrorist attack on Isreal.

    4. Cmon, Keith. You’ve got no evidence that Putin only invaded due to Biden and Hamas was all hunky dory and happy with how things they were between they and Joe Biden screwed up.

      Also, that laptop has been through six ways to Sunday by now. If you’d like to wonder why the media didn’t report it, maybe realize that they didn’t want to get played again like they got played by Wikileaks… and the Trump campaign.

      Also, lots of evidence of collusion. Let’s quote from the report:

      “statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.”

      “investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

      Stop watching the right wing media. Listen to what Trump says. “Terminate the Constitution”, indeed.

      https://www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17438386/trump-russia-collusion

    5. Q: How to show you don’t understand the contemporary uniparty corruption without saying you don’t understand contemporary uniparty corruption?

      A: Compare trump support to Fox News. Hilarious.

      Fox News is controlled opposition at best, replete with Nikki Haley republicans at worst. It’s a cradle for the incubation of new neo-cons: all 15 of them. Given the median age of neo-cons

      If the neocons broker a convention to insert Haley as their candidate (which is obviously what they want), I would quite happily write RFK Jr on the ballot. Or Cornel West. Or George Santos. Anything to rattle the establishment that Joe B so loquaciously defends.

      Watching Joe B’s lengthy screed is testament to the great principle: “Morality binds and blinds”. Few better examples out there than Joe B showing utter fealty to his beloved donkey party. But he does this every time his fingers touch the keyboard.

      Joe, we already ARE a Banana Republic. Everything that has happened in the three years is the activity of a Central American cesspit, minus the widespread poverty those countries have. But since we’re importing those countries en masse to upset the political balance and replace the native-born population (cue the “rightwing dogwhistle”, hardy har har), we’re fast approaching their income distribution levels. I mean, California and New York already have a gini index closer to Latin America. Note that it’s the bluest states with the highest income disparities–almost like leftist politics doesn’t really “level the playing field” as they pretend to want.

      And, of course, the usual sophistry: those illegal invaders “do the jobs Americans don’t want”. Really? Is that what they’re doing when they’re basking in US taxpayer funded decadence in hotels in Chicago and NYC? Do we really have a hard time getting Americans to haul garbage, mop vomit in a hospital, drill for coal, or get their guts spilled while serving another foreign misadventure? No, because these jobs can still achieve a living wage. Exactly what picking fruit and bussing tables and changing hotel room sheets would do IF the corrupt corporate employers weren’t exploiting the illegal immigrants who they are underpaying, while preventing working-class Americans from taking those same jobs.

      Joe cites Vox for insight. Tells you everything you need to know about his reasoning. I’ll stick with InfoWars, think you very much. At this point, Alex Jones is a Cassandra figure. If he were such a chucklehead, they won’t go after him so hard. Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani just understands want an organized crime ring looks like. Those corrupt poll workers deserve every threat against them, since they DID help rig 2020 along with the Jim Crow Party to which they affiliate. Why doesn’t the establishment go after Vox or NYT or WaPo, Joe?

      Get all nice and jabbed for the winter. Please.

    6. And, again, with the rigged elections nonsense. It’s an interesting religious belief from an atheist, It’s right up there with the Flying Spaghetti Monster when it comes to believe-ability and evidence, but hey, you can believe in whatever you want I guess.

      Lauren whines about fealty and the uniparty and their refusal to pay living wages but refuses to dare cross a party line to do so. You’re projecting, again. You accuse me of the things you know you’re guilty of.

      It’s the fault of the illegal immigrants the middle class is wiped out? How about a health care system in which one car crash or heart attack can mean bankruptcy from medical bills? A system in which wage growth ceased decades ago, and lots of people have to work multiple jobs or make ends meet, forget about being able to save for retirement. I wonder who might want to convince you the problem isn’t the tax cuts we keep giving rich people, it’s instead those immigrants.

      Yet when the person who was the President for the common man was in charge, the man who was going to take on the uniparty and drain that swamp, what was the first thing he did? He gave those rich people behind the uniparty a big old tax cut while he occupied people like you by blaming immigrants. Do you understand how well and truly you have been played? You’re just cannon fodder, to be used up and discarded just like Giuliani. That’s always the way – supporters are just suckers to use up and disposed of when it’s convenient.

      Even folks like you, Lauren. Did you not see Steve Bannon, who you raved about not that long ago, talking about how all the non-Christian nationalists should be rounded up? Guess that means an atheist like you will have to spend some time with someone like me, an apparently insufficiently Christian.

      Lauren, when I think of you, I think of that meme “‘I never thought leopards would eat MY face,’ sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.”

      The Democratic Party is a hot mess. They’ve been outplayed six ways to Sunday by Republicans, who’ve packed the Supreme Court and drawn any number of legislative boundaries to make sure that they stay in charge. The Democrats most consistent attribute is their ability to shoot themselves in the foot. Is Joe Biden perfect? Nope. But he’s never stood up and claimed he’s entitled to a third term in office or that such a matter can be negotiated. Which I find rather disqualifying, among around 8000 other things, thanks all the same.

      The best time to realize Trump was a terrible idea for America was 2015. The second best time is today. Its never too late.

    7. Come on Joe.
      We all know why the national news media chose to ignore the Hunter Biden
      Laptop story before the 2020 election. The major mainstream media outlets
      such as ABC, NBC, CBS. CNN, PBS, NPR, WAPO, NYT, LA Times, Boston Globe,
      Atlanta Journal, and all the USA/Gannet newspapers are LEFT WING news
      outlets shilling for the Dems. They chose sides over twenty years ago.

      The Russian Collusion story was a complete fabrication and hoax.

    8. Keith, you’re as persistent as you are badly informed.

      If the collusion was a lie, remind me why Trump worked so darn hard to cover it up? What did he have to hide if there was no collusion?

  4. Another shameless Republican. Lost all sense of decency. No backbone. No moral compass. He can’t be gone soon enough. And PLEASE, NO MIKE BRAUN as replacement. Yuck.

  5. Holcomb is a rino and must move on……. He was sent to the Vatican and then I knew, this foolish person needs to go, no deals will be cut. How can anyone ignore what has happened with Biden, his family and immediate family. He’s a pedophile according to his daughter’s book. I’m shocked that people can turn a blind eye. Holdcomb you need to go away!!!

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In