U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, is upbeat about President-elect Donald Trump‘s incoming administration after rescinding his endorsement of Trump in October.
“I’m very, very heartened by a lot of his picks,” Rooney said in a Wednesday interview.
Rooney specifically mentioned his House Intelligence Committee colleague, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, who was tapped by Trump for CIA director. He also pointed to Trump picking retired Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis for Defense secretary, retired Gen. Mike Flynn for national security adviser and retired Gen. John Kelly to run Homeland Security.
With Republicans controlling the House and Senate, Rooney said, “I’m very optimistic about what we possibly could do in the first 100 days.”
Rooney grew up in Palm Beach County and was a captain in the Army JAG Corps and a constitutional and criminal law instructor at West Point. Originally a state co-chairman of Marco Rubio‘s presidential bid, Rooney became an early Republican voice for uniting behind Trump in May when some in the GOP were still reluctant.
But Rooney withdrew his endorsement in October after a 2005 tape surfaced in which Trump bragged in vulgar terms about groping women.
“As the father of three young sons, I don’t want my boys growing up in a world where the President of the United States is allowed to speak or treat women the way Donald Trump has,” Rooney said in an Oct. 8 statement in which he also said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton.
Rooney said his announcement led to a “rough patch” with some constituents in his heavily Republican district. But Rooney ended up winning re-election with 61.8 percent in a district that also voted heavily for Trump.
Rooney said he believes he and Trump will be able to work together.
“We both won, so we can move forward, I think,” Rooney said.