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Greg Walden, Oregon's Sole Republican Congressman, Endorses Donald Trump

<p>Rep. Greg Walden with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Jan. 6, 2016.</p>

J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Greg Walden with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Jan. 6, 2016.

Oregon’s sole Republican congressman said Thursday that he’s endorsing Donald Trump, calling him a better option than Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Greg Walden has said for several months that he intended to support the Republican nominee, but he had not explicitly endorsed Trump before. That changed Thursday after Walden — who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee — met with Trump as the New York businessman held a round of meetings with top Capitol Hill Republicans.

Afterwards, Walden issued this statement:

“The American people know the damage done by this administration here at home and around the world. The last thing I want is to give the same Obama/Clinton/Sanders philosophy another four years in charge. While I may disagree with the rhetoric Mr. Trump uses and some policy positions, he is the better option than Hillary Clinton in the White House. That’s why all along I’ve said I intend to support the GOP nominee.” ​

As head of the House Republican campaign organization, Walden works closely with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., Ryan attracted headlines last week by saying he was not ready to support Trump. On Thursday, Ryan met with Trump and said the meeting was positive.

In his statement, Walden did not mention his specific differences with Trump. But when Trump called last year for banning Muslims from entering the country, Walden told Politico, "This is not what we are about as a party, and this is not what we are about as a country."

Walden has also supported free-trade treaties while Trump has been critical of them.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jeff Mapes is a senior political reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, Jeff covered state and national politics for The Oregonian for nearly 32 years. He has covered numerous presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and ballot measure campaigns, as well as many sessions of the Legislature, stretching back to 1985. Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in journalism.