RALEIGH – Even though he didn’t get the shiniest endorsement over the weekend, Mark Walker still thinks he got the one that counts. The former congressman and Republican primary candidate for U.S. Senate 2022 reacted to former President Donald Trump endorsing his opponent Ted Budd in an Facebook post, expounding on why he thinks he got the endorsements that mattered after the long convention weekend.
“In 2014, I had to take on the most powerful Republican leader and family in the state. I didn’t know a great deal about the political arena and had to grow up quick. My primary opponent was endorsed by what seemed like everyone including Mark Meadows and a host of state and national names; however, God provided a path and we were victorious. I have been blessed to win all my primaries, three general elections and two leadership positions in Congress including being elected chairman of the largest caucus in the U.S. Congress.
This past Saturday afternoon was a solid win for us. Delegates from across the state gathered in Greenville, NC for the annual NC GOP convention. We believed we would do well with the U.S. Senate poll but winning by such a large margin over the other senate candidates was a huge victory for our team. We were disappointed to discover that our Senate poll win was withheld from President Trump. And yes, Mr. Trump’s endorsement of Mr. Budd was an awkward moment for many in the room. Interestingly enough, Mr. Budd was surprised as well finding out only minutes before the event. Why would President Trump endorse someone who over 70% of the room voted against? And, if Mr. Budd had no idea, who was the one orchestrating the entire event?
I respect President Trump and his policies and much good has been accomplished for our country by the Trump administration. As Chairman of the Republican Study Committee and Vice Chair of our conference, I had the opportunity to work closely with the President and Vice President Pence leading the U.S. House on multiple policy issues. Yet, there are times, as in our U.S. Senate race, the President has received bad advice from his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows – on which candidates to endorse.
One recent example is Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The Meadows were upset with me after I endorsed Rep. Cawthorn last year over their close friend. Especially after Mr. Meadows coerced President Trump into publicly endorsing their friend. After Madison won by a tremendous margin, I knew there would be retaliation because Meadows had embarrassed the administration. I was also aware that Mr. Meadows had been working President Trump to endorse Mr. Budd but never anticipated that Meadows would hijack our state convention to retaliate.
In being transparent, it was a tough experience and I was embarrassed for my guests at our table. Both my girls were sitting down front with me and it was tough watching them cry and wanting to leave the room. However, I would not allow them and I knew this was a character-building moment and we would be respectful and stay for President Trump’s entire speech even after he endorsed our opponent.
Afterwards, I was ready to head home but I had committed to speaking the next morning in White Lake, NC. What was I thinking? It was late and I knew I would not arrive until the middle of the night and thought maybe I should just cancel. But then I was reminded that I had just told the girls that we do the right thing no matter the circumstance. I insisted that Kelly take her car with the girls and drive back to Greensboro and I would head to White Lake and speak at the church the following morning.
Kelly, being the “sweet submissive” lady that she is, looked back at me and told me, “No, we’re not going to do that. This is what we are going to do – the girls will drive home and I am going to White Lake with you.” I did not argue with her and was glad for her to join me.
I didn’t do my best the following morning and apologized to the pastor for my performance but God was reminding me that this journey is not run in my own strength. The amount of people who began reaching out to us with encouragement was overwhelming. We made it to Charlotte for a political dinner that evening and arrived back into Greensboro late Sunday night.
As we saw in the poll results, our momentum has and continues to build throughout the state. I am grateful for the endorsements of Senator Tim Scott, Governor Mike Huckabee, Clarence Henderson, Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Rep. Cawthorn and every GOP Sheriff I have ever represented but the best endorsements come from the very people who provided me the victory this past Saturday.
These are the individuals that make up the small towns, rural communities as well as our urban communities that I love dearly who work long hours at their jobs but are in the fight. These are same people that sent me to Congress. The same ones who pray for me and my family every day. You can call them grassroots, some will call them evangelicals, I just know they have my back and that may be all I need.
Hear me well – we are undeterred because this battle belongs to the Lord and we will do our best to seek His guidance every day. Psalm 20:7 has been on my mind for the last couple of days: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” I don’t know how this all ends but I know that no one will outwork us and I have a feeling that we’re going to see something special. People wonder if this former pastor knows how to fight. Buckle up, but never forget it’s about being a warrior and a builder. Let’s roll!”