GOP Senate Hopeful Declines to Say if He's OK With Trump Having Nuclear Launch Codes

Rep. Todd Young, a former Marine running in Indiana who's said he intends to back the GOP nominee, avoided directly answering the question several times in an interview with The Associated Press.

Erica Werner
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage for a campaign event in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016.
U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump takes the stage for a campaign event in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016. Credit: Molly Riley, AFP
Erica Werner

AP — The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Indiana declined Monday to say whether he's comfortable with Donald Trump serving as commander in chief and possessing the nation's nuclear launch codes.

Rep. Todd Young, a former Marine who's said he intends to back the GOP nominee, avoided directly answering the question several times in an interview with The Associated Press.

"I'm comfortable with a complete change in direction in our foreign policy, and the Republican nominee has offered that," Young responded when asked about Trump serving as commander in chief.

Pressed on whether he is comfortable with Trump being commander in chief and having the nuclear codes, Young wouldn't say. He finally declared that Hillary Clinton has disqualified herself from having a top secret security clearance, but "Donald Trump has not disqualified himself from getting a top secret security clearance."

Young is running in a red state that Trump is all but certain to win, and whose governor, Mike Pence, is Trump's vice presidential running mate.

Although Young has said he supports the GOP nominee, he's avoided appearing with Trump or talking much about him.

Young's Democratic opponent is former Sen. Evan Bayh, who retired six years ago and is now trying to get back into the Senate. Unlike in other competitive Senate races, where Trump is unpopular with key voter groups and Democrats are working hard to tie their GOP opponents to Trump, Bayh is not using that strategy against Young.

Instead Bayh is facing attacks from Young and other Republicans about his own ties to Clinton, who is unpopular in Indiana. For now Bayh leads in polls as Democrats work to retake control of the Senate in November, which would require picking up five seats, or four if they keep the White House since the vice president breaks ties in the Senate.

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