GOP senator says Trump isn't a role model but 'I don't get to pick the people that I work with'

Lankford said it's been "a bit of a conundrum" to disagree with the president on moral issues but the administration has been "tenaciously pro-life" and "very focused on religious liberty."
Image: Sen.-elect James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks with reporters at the Capitol on Nov. 12, 2014.
Sen.-elect James Lankford, R-Okla., speaks with reporters at the Capitol on Nov. 12, 2014.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call file

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By Dartunorro Clark

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said he does not believe President Donald Trump is a role model for young people but continues to support the administration because of its policies.

"I don't think that President Trump as a person is a role model for a lot of different youth, that's just me personally," Lankford told CBS' "Face The Nation" on Sunday. "I don't like the way that he tweets, some of the things that he says, his word choices at times are not my word choices."

He added, "He comes across with more New York City swagger than I do from the Midwest and definitely not the way that I'm raising my kids."

Lankford did the interview alongside Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., about lawmakers' longstanding tradition of the Senate prayer breakfast. As Trump faces an impeachment trial in the Senate, Lankford was asked about the call from Republicans during President Bill Clinton's impeachment for an American president to be a moral leader.

Lankford, who is up for re-election in 2022, has spoken out against the impeachment inquiry. He has voted in line with Trump's position 90 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Lankford said it's been "a bit of a conundrum" to disagree with the president on moral issues but the administration has been "tenaciously pro-life" and "very focused on religious liberty."

"And at the end of the day, what we're really looking for in an administration is folks that allow us to be able to live our principles," he said. He added that he does not believe he has to answer for every tweet and crude remark.

"The president has a spokesperson, and I'm not the president's spokesperson. I have a responsibility for myself and my team and for what my family's going to do," he said.

"And one of the interesting things about Washington, D.C., is I don't get to pick the people that I work with. The American people pick the people that I work with."