Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach celebrated Donald Trump’s apparent victory in the race for the Republican nomination Wednesday.
Trump needs fewer than 200 delegates to win the party’s nomination for president after his decisive victory in Indiana caused rivals Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich to suspend their campaigns.
“I feel somewhat vindicated that overwhelming numbers of Republicans across the country recognized him as the best person to carry the banner for Republican Party,” said Kobach, the only statewide official in Kansas to endorse Trump ahead of the Kansas Republican caucus, which was won by Cruz in March.
“On the immigration issue, there’s absolutely no question that Trump was the most conservative of all of the candidates who ran,” Kobach said.
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Kobach advised Trump on his plan to force Mexico to pay for a wall along the southern border by using a provision in the Patriot Act, which allows the federal government to restrict money transfers outside the country as leverage.
Kobach and Trump think that the threat of denying Mexican immigrants the ability to wire money to their families will be enough incentive to get the Mexican government to finance construction of the wall, Trump’s main policy platform.
Kobach said he intends “to be available to Mr. Trump to continue to provide any advice he needs on immigration issues” but has no expectations of a position in a Trump administration.
“I think the other appeal that Mr. Trump had is that he speaks from the gut like a regular person. He doesn’t speak in rehearsed political phrases,” Kobach said. “And I think the more the campaign wore on the more voters realized that Ted Cruz was saying the same things over and over again.”
Gov. Sam Brownback’s office released a statement Wednesday afternoon voicing support for Trump despite the governor’s previous support of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“As he’s stated before, Governor Brownback will support the Republican nominee,” spokeswoman Eileen Hawley said in an e-mail.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle