Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who brutally criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during his own bid for the office, stood by his comments during a speech on Long Island on Wednesday night, but reiterated that he’d vote for Trump anyway because, “he’s better than Hillary” Clinton.
Appearing at a Hofstra University forum as part of the college’s lead-in to hosting the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, Jindal, a Republican, was asked if he’d changed his views on Trump since last year, when he called him a “madman” and “unstable narcissist.”
“I don’t usually use that kind of language about anyone, in public or private life, but I felt that strongly about it,” Jindal said. “My views haven’t changed overnight. I didn’t wake up today to tell you that I think Donald Trump’s the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not here to tell you that I think he’s a conservative reformer. I’m not here to tell you that I know what all of his positions and policies are.
“I do think that he’s better than Hillary,” Jindal continued, referring to Trump’s Democratic opponent.
The student who asked Jindal the question had said he was an undecided voter between Clinton and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate. But though Jindal said he believed Johnson should have a chance to debate at Hofstra, he said he saw the election as a “binary choice.”
In explaining his vote for Trump, Jindal echoed what several high-profile national Republican figures have said in recent months as they weighed concerns about their party’s nominee with the prospect of a Clinton presidency. Trump, said Jindal, was more likely to nominate conservative Supreme Court justices, repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and be stronger on national security.
Still, he lamented, “I’d much rather be voting for somebody. That’s a much better position to be in. I always tell people it’s much better to not have to go vote against somebody.
“I think there’s going to be millions of voters this year very unhappy with their choices,” Jindal said.
The comments on Trump and Clinton came at the very end of a 90-minute speech and question-and-answer session that largely stayed away from the presidential race and instead focused on Jindal’s health care and education platform.
But the ex-governor did earlier slip one humorous reference to the unpredictable general election campaign.
“I was in the air today so I don’t even know what crazy things were said,” he said. “That’s the one positive thing. If you put aside that the future of our country is now in balance, it is entertaining.”